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Full text of "The writings of Thomas Jefferson: being his autobiography, correspondence, reports, messages, addresses, and other writings, official and private. Published by the order of the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library, from the original manuscripts, deposited in the Department of State"

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VOL] I. 




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Columbia. 



MR. JEFFERSON having, by his last will and testament, bequeathed to 
his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, all his manuscript papers, 
Congress, by an act of the 12th of April, 1848, made an appropriation 
for the purpose of purchasing them for the Government ; and, by the 
same act, an additional appropriation was made to print and publish 
them under the direction and supervision of the Joint Committee on 
the Library. It is under the authority of this act that the present pub- 
lication is made. The immense mass of manuscript left by Mr. Jefferson 
having been deposited with the Editor, he has carefully gone through the 
whole, and selected from it, for the present publication, everything which 
possesses permanent public interest either on account of its intrinsic 
value, or as matter of history, or as illustrating the character of the dis- 
tinguished Author, or as embodying his views upon the almost infinite 
variety of topics, philosophical, moral, religious, scientific, historical, and 
political, so ably discussed by him thus making this work a complete 
depository of the writings of Thomas Jefferson. Under the view which the 
Editor has taken of his editorial duties, and the instructions of the Li- 
brary Committee, he has not felt himself at liberty to encumber the pub- 
lication with matter of his own farther than is necessary to illustrate the 
text. Such notes as have been appended will, therefore, be found to be 
purely explanatory and historical in their character. Under the impress- 
ion that the value of such publications as the present depends much 
upon facility of reference, a particular Index has been appended to each 
volume as well as a general Index to the whole. 







1783), 181. 

Adams, John, letters written to, 205, 356, 358, 365, 370, 376, 378, 416, 

436, 437, 460, 486, 492, 497, 510, 501, 511, 529, 569, 584, 591. 
Aranda, Count de, letter written to, 470. 
Auberteuil, Billiard d', 535. 

Bancroft, Dr., letter written to, 535. 
Bannister, J. Jr., letter written to, 466. 
Bellini, Mr., letter written to, 443. 
Buchanan and Hay, letter written to, 578. 

Campbell, Colonel, letter written to, 295. 

Carmichael, William, letters written to, 392, 469, 473, 551, 579. 

Carr, Peter, letter written to, 395. 

Gary, Colonel A., letters written to, 197, 507. 

Castries, Monsieur de, letters written to, 361, 374. 

Cathalan, Monsieur, letter written to, 600. 

Chastellux, Chevalier de, letters written to, 321, 339. 

Commissioners of the French Treasury, letter written to, 519. 

Crevecoeur Monsieur de, letter written to, 594. 



Delegates in Congress, from Georgia, letter written to, 500. 

" from Virginia, letters written to, 287, 307. 

Desbordes, Monsieur, letter written to, 462. 
Drayton, William, letter written to, 554. 
Dumas, W. F., letters written to, 528, 552. 
Dumas and Short, letter written to 415. 

Forrest, Colonel Uriah, letter written to, 338. 
Franklin, Dr. Benjamin, letters written to, 204, 448, 525. 
Franklin, W. T., letter written to, 555. 
French and Nephew, letter written to, 362. 

Gates, Major General, letters written to, 238, 251, 254, 260, 262, 266, 268, 

275, 294, 314. 

Geisner, Baron, letter written to, 427. 
Gerry, Eldridge, letters written to, 454, 556. 
Governor of Georgia, letter written to, 499. 

" Maryland, letter written to, 343. 

" Virginia, letters written to, 402, 513, 599. 

Greene, Major General, letter written to, 509. 

Hartley, David, letter written to, 422. 
Henry, Patrick, letter written to, 212. 
Hogendorp, letter written to, 463. 
Hopkinson, F., letters written to, 440, 503. 
Humphreys, Colonel, letters written to, 496, 559. 

I/ard, R., letter written to, 441. 

Jay, John, letters written to, 332, 339, 344, 380, 384, 403, 408, 452, 4o7. 

522, 537, 538, 543, 545, 571, 573, 574, 582, 602. 
Jones, John Paul, letters written to, 391, 594. 
Jones, Joseph, letter written to, 353. 

La Fayette, letters written to, 311, 579, 596. 

La Luzerne, Chevalier de, letter written to, 326. 

Lambe, Mr., letter written to, 581. 

La Morleine, Monsieur, letter written to, 578. 

Langdon, John, letter written to, 428. 

La Valec, Monsieur de, letter written to, 429. 


La Rouene, Marquis de, letter written to, 512. 
Lee, Richard Henry, letters written to, 204, 540. 
Livingston, Robert R. letters written to, 320, 327, 330, 331. 
From, 329, 331. 

Madison, James, letters written to, 315, 324, 412, 431, 446, 531. 
Marbois, Monsieur de, letter written to, 297. 
Mathews, Colonel, letter written to, 233. 
McPherson, Charles, letter written to, 195. 

Monroe, James, letters written to, 317, 345, 358, 405, 526, 564, 586, 605. 
From, 316. . 

O'Bryan, Richard, letter written to, 477. 
Osgood, Samuel, letter written to, 45(i. 
Otto, Mr. letter written to, 558 

Page, John, letters written to, 181, 184, 186, 188, 189, 190, 191, 193, 210, 

399, 548. 

Pleasants, T., letter written to, 563. 
Poncens, Marquis de, letter written to, 430. 
Portail, Monsieur du, letter written to 357, 
President of Congress, letters written to, 285, 287, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 

Price, Dr., letter written to, 376. 

Randolph, Edmund, letters written to, 312, 433. 
Randolph, John, letters written to, 200, 202. 
Riedesel, General de, letter written to, 240. 
Rittenhouse, David, letters written to, 210, 515. 
Ross, James, letter written to, 560. 

St. Victour and Bettinger, letter written to, 570. 

Seward, W. \V., letter written to, 478. 

Short, William, letter written to, 372. 

Small, Dr. William, letter written to, 198. 

Steptoe, Mr., letter written to, 323. 

Stevens, General Edward, letters written to, 244, 250, 252, 253, 274, 278. 

Stewart, A., letter written to, 517. 

Style, Dr., letter written to, 363. 


Thompson, Charles, letters written to, 354, 542. 
Thulemeyer, Baron de, letters written to, 368, 469. 
Trist, Mrs., letter written to, 394. 

Unger, John Louis de, letter written to, 2*78. 

Van Staphorst, N. & J., letters written to, 369, 46 1, 471. 

Vergennes, Count de, letters written to, 385, 456, 479, 490, 537, 547, 577. 

Washington, George, letters written to, 221, 225, 230, 231, 232, 235, 237, 
239, 241, 243, 249, 255, 257, 265, 267, 268, 270, 271, 276, 279, 282 ; 
291, 292, 296, 297, 304, 305, 309, 313, 325, 333. 
From, 328. 

Wythe, George, letter written to, 21) 

* (address lost), 207, 246, 272, 289. 



IN the arrangement which has been adopted, Book I. comprises the Autobiography 
and Appendix. The Autobiography extends to the 21st of March, 1790, when Mr. 
Jefferson arrived in New York to enter upon the duties of the Department of Stiite, 
and embraces a variety of important subjects, such as the rise and progress of the 
difficulties between Great Britain ad her North American Colonies the circum- 
stances connected with the Declaration of Independence the debates in Congress 
upon the adoption thereof, as reduced to -writing by Mr. Jefferson at the time the 
history of the Articles of Confederation early stages of the French Revolution re- 
vision of the Penal Code of Virginia abolition of her laws of Primogeniture over- 
throw of her Church Establishment Act of Religious Freedom, &c. all matter 
interesting in itself, but rendered particularly so by the fact that it comes from one 
who was himself a chief actor in the scenes which he describes. 


JANUARY 6, 1821. At the age of 77, I begin to make some 
memoranda, and state some recollections of dates and facts con- 
cerning myself, for my own more ready reference, and for the 
information of my family. 

The tradition in my father's family was, that their ancestor 
came to this country from Wales, and from near the mountain 
of Snowdon, the highest in Great Britain. I noted once a case 
from Wales, in the law reports, where a person of our name was 
either plaintiff or defendant ; and one of the same name was 
secretary to the Virginia Company. These are the only in- 
stances in which I have met with the name in that country. I 
have found it in our early records ; but the first particular infor- 
mation I have of any ancestor was of my grandfather, who lived 
at the place in Chesterfield called Ozborne's, and owned the 
lands afterwards the glebe of the parish. He had three sons ; 
Thomas who died young, Field who settled on the waters of 
Roanoke and left numerous descendants, and Peter, my father, 
who settled on the lands I still own, called Shadwell, adjoining 
my present residence. He was born February 29, 1707-8, and 
intermarried 1739, with Jane Randolph, of the age of 19, daugh- 
ter of Isham Randolph, one of the seven sons of that name and 
family, settled at Dungeoness in Goochland. They trace their 
pedigree far back in England and Scotland, to which let every 

one ascribe the faith and merit he chooses. 
VOL. i. 1 


My father's education had been quite neglected ; but being of 
a strong mind, sound judgment, and eager after information, he 
read much and improved himself, insomuch that he was chosen, 
with Joshua Fry, Professor of Mathematics in William and Mary 
college, to continue the boundary line between Virginia and North 
Carolina, which had been begun by Colonel Byrd ; and was af- 
terwards employed with the same Mr. Fry, to make the first map 
of Virginia which had ever been made, that of Captain Smith 
being merely a conjectural sketch. They possessed excellent 
materials for so much of the country as is below the blue ridge ; 
little being then known beyond that ridge. He was the third 
or fourth settler, about the year 1737, of the part of the country 
in which I live. He died, August 17th, 1757, leaving my mother 
a widow, who lived till 1776, with six daughters and two sons, 
myself the elder. To my younger brother he left his estate on 
James River, called Snowden, after the supposed birth-place of 
the family : to myself, the lands on which I was born and live. 

He placed me at the English school at five years of age ; and 
at the Latin at nine, where I continued until his death. My 
teacher, Mr. Douglas, a clergyman from Scotland, with the ru- 
diments of the Latin and Greek languages, taught me the French ; 
and on the death of my father, I went to the Reverend Mr. 
Maury, a correct classical scholar, with whom I continued two 
years ; and then, to wit, in the spring of 1760, went to William 
and Mary college, where I continued two years. It was my 
great good fortune, and what probably fixed the destinies of my 
life, that Dr. William Small of Scotland, was then professor of 
Mathematics, a man profound in most of the useful branches of 
science, with a happy talent of communication, correct and gen- 
tlemanly manners, and an enlarged and liberal mind. He, most 
happily for me, became soon attached to me, and made me his 
daily companion when not engaged in the school ; and from his 
conversation I got my first views of the expansion of science, 
and of the system of things in which we are placed. Fortu- 
nately, the philosophical chair became vacant soon after my ar- 
rival at college, and he was appointed to fill it per interim : and 


he was the first who ever gave, in that college, regular lectures 
in Ethics, Rhetoric and Belles lettres. He returned to Europe in 
1762, having previously filled up the measure of his goodness to 
me, by procuring for me, from his most intimate friend, George 
Wythe, a reception as a student of law, under his direction, and 
introduced me to the acquaintance and familiar table of Governor 
Fauquier, the ablest man who had ever filled that office. With 
him, and at his table, Dr. Small and Mr. Wythe ; his amid om- 
nium horarum, and myself, formed n'Jmrtie quarree, and to the 
habitual conversations on these occasions I owed much instruc- 
tion. Mr. Wythe continued to be my faithful and beloved men- 
tor in youth, and my most affectionate friend through life. In 
1767, he led me into the practice of the law at the bar of the 
General court, at which I continued until the Revolution shut up 
the courts of justice.* 

In 1769, I became a member of the legislature by the choice 
of the county in which I live, and so continued until it was 
closed by the Revolution. I made one eifort in that body for 
the permission of the emancipation of slaves, which was rejected : 
and indeed, during the regal government, nothing liberal could 
expect success. Our minds were circumscribed within narrow 
limits, by an habitual belief that it was our duty to be subordi- 
nate to the mother country in all matters of government, to di- 
rect all our labors in subservience to her interests, and even to 
observe a bigoted intolerance for all religions but hers. The dif- 
ficulties with our representatives were of habit and despair, not 
of reflection and conviction. Experience soon proved that they 
could bring their minds to rights, on the first summons of their 
attention. But the King's Council, which acted as another house 
of legislature, held their places at will, and were in most humble 
obedience to that will : the Governor too, who had a negative on 
our laws, held by the same tenure, and with still greater de- 
votedness to it : and, last of all, the Royal negative closed the 
last door to every hope of amelioration. -^, 


* [See Appendix, note A.] 

-~.t <* 


On the 1st of January, 1772, 1 was married to Martha Skelton 
widow of Bathurst Skelton, and daughter of John Wayles, then 
twenty-three years old. Mr. Wayles was a lawyer of much prac- 
tice, to which he was introduced more by his great industry, 
punctuality, and practical readiness, than by eminence in the 
science of his profession. He was a most agreeable companion, 
full of pleasantry and good humor, and welcomed in every so- 
ciety. He acquired a handsome fortune, and died in May, 1773, 
leaving three daughters : the portion which came on that event 
to Mrs. Jefferson, after the debts should be paid, which were very 
considerable, was about equal to my own patrimony, and conse- 
quently doubled the ease of our circumstances. 

When the famous Resolutions of 1765, against the Stamp-act, 
were proposed, I was yet a student of law in Williamsburgh. I 
attended the debate, however, at the door of the lobby of the 
House of Burgesses, and heard the splendid display of Mr. Hen- 
ry's talents as a popular orator. They were great indeed ; such 
as I have never heard from any other man. He appeared to me 
to speak as Homer wrote. Mr. Johnson, a lawyer, and member 
from the Northern Neck, seconded the resolutions, and by him 
the learning and the logic of the case were chiefly maintained. 
My recollections of these transactions may be seen page 60 of 
the life of Patrick Henry, by Wirt, to whom I furnished them. 

In May, 1769, a meeting of the General Assembly was called 
by the Governor, Lord Botetourt. I had then become a member ; 
and to that meeting became known the joint resolutions and ad- 
dress of the Lords and Commons, of 1768-9, on the proceedings 
in Massachusetts. Counter-resolutions, and an address to the 
King by the House of Burgesses, were agreed to with little op- 
position, and a spirit manifestly displayed itself of considering the 
the cause of Massachusetts as a common one. The Governor 
dissolved us : but we met the next day in the Apollo* of the 
Raleigh tavern, formed ourselves into a voluntary convention, 
drew up articles of association against the use of any merchan- 
dise imported from Great Britain, signed and recommended them 

[* The name of a public room in the Raleigh,] 


to the people, repaired to our several counties, and were re-elected 
without any other exception than of the very few who had de- 
clined assent to our proceedings. 

Nothing of particular excitement occurring for a considerable 
time, our countrymen seemed to fall into a state of insensibility 
to our situation ; the duty on tea, not yet repealed, and the decla- 
ratory act of a right in the British Parliament to bind us by their 
laws in all cases whatsoever, still suspended over us. But a court 
of inquiry held in Rhode Island in 1762, with a power to send 
persons to England to be tried for offences committed here, was 
considered, at our session of the spring of 1773, as demanding 
attention. Not thinking our old and leading members up to the 
point of forwardness and zeal which the times required, Mr. 
Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Francis L. Lee, Mr. Carr and my- 
self agreed to meet in the evening, in a private room of the 
Raleigh, to consult on the state of things. There may have been 
a member or two more \Vhom I do not recollect. We were all 
sensible that the most urgent of all measures was that of coming 
to an understanding with all the other colonies, to consider 
the British claims as a common cause to all, and to produce a 
unity of action : and, for this purpose, that a committee of corre- 
spondence in each colony would be the best instrument for inter- 
communication : and that their first measure would probably be, 
to propose a meeting of deputies from every colony, at some cen- 
tral place, who should be charged with the direction of the meas- 
ures which should be taken by all. We, therefore, drew up the 
resolutions which may be seen in Wirt, page 87. The consult- 
ing members proposed to me to move them, but I urged that it 
should be done by Mr. Carr, my friend and brother-in-law, then 
a new member, to whom I wished an opportunity should be given 
of making known to the house his great worth and talents. It 
was so agreed ; he moved them, they were agreed to nem. con., 
and a committee of correspondence appointed, of whom Peyton 
Randolph, the speaker, was chairman. The Governor (then Lord 
Dunmore) dissolved us, but the committee met the next day, pre- 
pared a circular letter to the speakers of the other colonies, in- 


closing to each a copy of the resolutions, and left it in charge 
with their chairman to forward them by expresses. 

The origination of these committees of correspondence be- 
tween the colonies has been since claimed for Massachusetts, and 
Marshall* has given into this error, although the very note of his 
appendix to which he refers, shows that their establishment 
was confined to their own towns. This matter will be seen 
clearly stated in a letter of Samuel Adams Wells to me of April 
2nd, 1819, and my answer of May 12th. I was corrected by the 
letter of Mr. Wells in the information I had given Mr. Wirt, as 
stated in his note, page 87, that the messengers of Massachusetts 
and Virginia crossed each other on the way, bearing similar propo- 
sitions ; for Mr. Wells shows that Massachusetts did not adopt the 
measure, but on the receipt of our proposition, delivered at their 
next session. Their message, therefore, which passed ours, must 
have related to something else, for I well remember Peyton Ran- 
dolph's informing me of the crossing of our messengers.f 

The next event which excited our sympathies for Massachu- 
setts, was the Boston port bill, by which that port was to be shut 
up on the 1st of June, 1774. This arrived while we were in 
session in the spring of that year. The lead in the House, on 
these subjects, being no longer left to the old members, Mr. 
Henry, R. H. Lee, Fr. L. Lee, three or four other members, 
whom I do not recollect, and myself, agreeing that we must 
boldly take an unequivocal stand in the line with Massachusetts, 
determined to meet and consult on the proper measures, in the 
council-chamber, for the benefit of the library in that room. We 
were under conviction of the necessity of arousing our people 
from the lethargy into which they had fallen, as to passing events ; 
and thought that the appointment of a day of general fasting and 
prayer would be most likely to call up and alarm their attention. 
No example of such a solemnity had existed since the days of 
our distresses in the war of '55, since which a new generation 
had grown up. With the help, therefore, of Rushworth, whom 
we rummaged over for the revolutionary precedents and forms of 

Life of Washington, vol. ii., p. 151. [f See Appendix, note B.] 


the Puritans of that day, preserved by him, we cooked up a reso- 
lution, somewhat modernizing their phrases, for appointing the 
1st day of June, on which the port-bill was to commence, for a 
day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, to implore Heaven to 
avert from us the evils of civil war, to inspire us with firmness in 
support of our rights, and to turn the hearts of the King and 
Parliament to moderation and justice. To give greater emphasis 
to our proposition, we agreed to wait the next morning on Mr. 
Nicholas, whose grave and religious character was more in unison 
with the tone of our resolution, and to solicit him to move it. 
We accordingly went to him in the morning. He moved it the 
same day ; the 1st of June was proposed ; and it passed without 
opposition. The Governor dissolved us, as usual. We retired 
to the Apollo, as before, agreed to an association, and instructed 
the committee of correspondence to propose to the corresponding 
committees of the other colonies, to appoint deputies to meet in 
Congress at such place, annually, as should be convenient, to di- 
rect, from time to time, the measures required by the general in- 
terest : and we declared that an attack on any one colony, should 
be considered as an attack on the whole. This was in May. We 
further recommended to the several counties to elect deputies to 
meet at Williamsburgh, the 1st of August ensuing, to consider 
the state of the colony, and particularly to appoint delegates to a 
general Congress, should that measure be acceded to by the com- 
mittees of correspondence generally. It was acceded to ; Phila- 
delphia was appointed for the place, and the 5th of September 
for the time of meeting. We returned home, and in our several 
counties invited the clergy to meet assemblies of the people on 
the 1st of June, to perform the ceremonies of the day, and to ad- 
dress to them discourses suited to the occasion. The people met 
generally, with anxiety and alarm in their countenances, and the 
effect of the day, through the whole colony, was like a shock of 
electricity, arousing every man, and placing him erect and solidly 
on his centre. They chose, universally, delegates for the con- 
vention. Being elected one for my own county, I prepared a 
draught of instructions to be given to the delegates whom we 


should send to the Congress, which I meant to propose at our 
meeting.* In this I took the ground that, from the beginning, I 
had thought the only one orthodox or tenable, which was, that 
the relation between Great Britain and these colonies was ex- 
actly the same as that of England and Scotland, after the acces- 
sion of James, and until the union, and the same as her present 
relations with Hanover, having the same executive chief, but no 
other necessary political connection ; and that our emigration 
from England to this country gave her no more rights over us, 
than the emigrations of the Danes and Saxons gave to the present 
authorities of the mother country, over England. . In this doc- 
trine, however, I had never been able to get any one to agree 
with me but Mr. Wythe. He concurred in it from the first dawn 
of the question, What was the political relation between us and 
England ? Our other patriots, Randolph, the Lees, Nicholas, Pen- 
dleton, stopped at the half-way house of John Dickinson, who 
admitted that England had a right to regulate our commerce, and 
to lay duties on it for the purposes of regulation, but not of rais- 
ing revenue. But for this ground there was no foundation in 
compact, in any acknowledged principles of colonization, nor in 
reason : expatriation being a natural right, and acted on as such, 
by all nations, in all ages. I set out for Williamsburg some days 
before that appointed for our meeting, but was taken ill of a dys- 
entery on the road, and was unable to proceed. I sent on, there- 
fore, to Williamsburgh, two copies of my draught, the one under 
cover to Peyton Randolph, who I knew would be in the chair of 
tho convention, the other to Patrick Henry. Whether Mr. Henry 
disapproved the ground taken, or was too lazy to read it (for he 
was the laziest man in reading 1 ever knew) I never learned : 
but he communicated it to nobody. Peyton Randolph informed 
the convention he had received such a paper from a member, pre- 
vented by sickness from offering it in his place, and he laid it on 
the table for perusal. It was read generally by the members, ap- 
proved by many, though thought too bold for the present state of 
things ; but they printed it in pamphlet form, under the title of 

[* See Appendix, note C.J 


" A Summary View of the Rights of British America." It found 
its way to England, was taken up by the opposition, interpolated 
a little by Mr. Burke so as to make it answer opposition pur- 
poses, and in that form ran rapidly through several editions. This 
information I had from Parson Hurt, who happened at the time 
to be in London, whither he had gone to receive clerical orders ; 
and I was informed afterwards by Peyton Randolph, that it had 
procured me the honor of having my name inserted in a long list 
of proscriptions, enrolled in a bill of attainder commenced in one 
of the Houses of Parliament, but suppressed in embryo by the 
hasty step of events, which warned them to be a little cautious. 
Montague, agent of the House of Burgesses in England, made 
extracts from the bill, copied the names, and sent them to Peyton 
Randolph. The names, I think, were about twenty, which he 
repeated to me, but I recollect those only of Hancock, the two 
Adamses, Peyton Randolph himself, Patrick Henry, and myself.* 
The convention met on the 1st of August, renewed their associ- 
ation, appointed delegates to the Congress, gave them instructions 
very temperately and properly expressed, both as to style and 
matter ;f and they repaired to Philadelphia at the time appointed. 
The splendid proceedings of that Congress, at their first session, 
belong to general history, are known to every one, and need not 
therefore be noted here. They terminated their session on the 
26th of October, to meet again on the 10th of May ensuing. 
The convention, at their ensuing session of March, '75, approved 
of the proceedings of Congress, thanked their delegates, and re- 
appointed the same persons to represent the colony at the meet- 
ing to be held in May : and foreseeing the probability that Pey- 
ton Randolph, their president, and speaker also of the House of 
Burgesses, might be called off, they added me, in that event, to 
the delegation. 

Mr. Randolph was, according to expectation, obliged to leave 
the chair of Congress, to attend the General Assembly summoned 
by Lord Dunmore, to meet on the 1st day of June, 1775. Lord 

* See Girardin's History of Virginia, Appendix No. 12. note, 
[f See Appendix, note D.] 


North's conciliatory propositions, as they were called, had been 
received by the Governor, and furnished the subject for which 
this assembly was convened. Mr. Randolph accordingly attended, 
and the tenor of these propositions being generally known, as 
having been addressed to all the governors, he was anxious that 
the answer of our Assembly, likely to be the first, should har- 
monize with what he knew to be the sentiments and wishes of 
the body he had recently left. He feared that Mr. Nicholas, 
whose mind was not yet up to the mark of the times, would un- 
dertake the answer, and therefore pressed me to prepare it. I did 
so, and, with his aid, carried it through the House, with long and 
doubtful scruples from Mr. Nicholas and James Mercer, and a 
dash of cold water on it here and there, enfeebling it somewhat, 
but finally with unanimity, or a vote approaching it. This be- 
ing passed, I repaired immediately to Philadelphia, and conveyed 
to Congress the first notice they had of it. It was entirely ap- 
proved there. I took my seat with them on the 21st of June. 
On the 24th, a committee which had been appointed to prepare 
a declaration of the causes of taking up arms, brought in their 
report (drawn I believe by J. Rutledge) which, not being liked, 
the House recommitted it, on the 26th, and added Mr. Dickinson 
and myself to the committee. On the rising of the House, the 
committee having not yet met, I happened to find myself near 
Governor W. Livingston, and proposed to him to draw the paper. 
He excused himself and proposed that I should draw it. On my 
pressing him with urgency, " we are as yet but new acquaint- 
ances, sir," said he, " why are you so earnest for my doing it ?" 
" Because," said I, " I have been informed that you drew the Ad- 
dress to, the people of Great Britain, a production, certainly, of the 
finest pen in America." " On that," says he, " perhaps, sir, you 
may not have been correctly informed." I had received the in- 
formation in Virginia from Colonel Harrison on his return from 
that Congress. Lee, Livingston, and Jay had been the com- 
mittee for that draught. The first, prepared by Lee, had been 
disapproved and recommitted. The second was drawn by Jay, 
but being presented by Governor Livingston, had led Colonel 


Harrison into the error. The next morning, walking in the hall 
of Congress, many members being assembled, but the House not 
yet formed, I observed Mr. Jay speaking to R. H. Lee, and lead- 
ing him by the button of his coat to me. " I understand, sir," 
said he to me, " that this gentleman informed you, that Governor 
Livingston drew the Address to the people of Great Britain." I 
assured him, at once, that I had not received that information from 
Mr. Lee, and that not a word had ever passed on the subject be- 
tween Mr. Lee and myself; and after some explanations the sub- 
ject was dropped. These gentlemen had had some sparrings in 
debate before, and continued ever very hostile to each other. 

I prepared a draught of the declaration committed to us. It 
was too strong for Mr. Dickinson. He still retained the hope of 
reconciliation with the mother country, and was unwilling it 
should be lessened by offensive statements. He was so honest a 
man, and so able a one, that he was greatly indulged even by 
those who could not feel his scruples. We therefore requested 
him to take the paper, and put it into a form he could approve. 
He did so, preparing an entire new statement, and preserving of 
the former only the last four paragraphs and half of the preceding 
one. We approved and reported it to Congress, who accepted it. 
Congress gave a signal proof of their indulgence to Mr. Dickinson, 
and of their great desire not to go too fast for any respectable part 
of our body, in permitting him to draw their second petition to 
the King according to his own ideas, and passing it with scarcely 
any amendment. The disgust against this humility was general ; 
and Mr. Dickinson's delight at its passage was the only circum- 
stance which reconciled them to it. The vote being passed, al- 
though further observation on it was out of order, he could not 
refrain from rising and expressing his satisfaction, and concluded 
by saying, " there is but one word, Mr. President, in the paper 
which I disapprove, and that is the word Congress ;" on which 
Ben Harrison rose and said, " There is but one word in the 
paper, Mr. President, of which I approve, and that is the word 

On the 22d of July, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, R. H. Lee, and 


myself, were appointed a committee to consider and report on 
Lord North's conciliatory resolution. The answer of the Vir- 
ginia Assembly on that subject having been approved, I was re- 
quested by the committee to prepare this report, which will ac- 
count for the similarity of feature in the two instruments. 

On the 15th of May, 1776, the convention of Virginia in- 
structed their delegates in Congress, to propose to that body to 
declare the colonies independent of Great Britain, and appointed 
a committee to prepare a declaration of rights and plan of gov- 

*In Congress, Friday, June 7, 1776. The delegates from Vir- 
ginia moved, in obedience to instructions from their constituents, 
that the Congress should declare that these United colonies are, 
and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they 
are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all 
political connection between them and the state of Great Britain 
is, and ought to be, totally dissolved ; that measures should be 
immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, 
and a Confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely 

The House being obliged to attend at that time to some other 
business, the proposition was referred to the next day, when the 
members were ordered to attend punctually at ten o'clock. 

Saturday, June 8. They proceeded to take it into considera- 
tion, and referred it to a committee of the whole, into Avhich they 
immediately resolved themselves, and passed that day and Mon- 
day, the 10th, in debating on the subject. 

It was argued by Wilson, Robert R. Livingston, E. Rutledge, 
Dickinson, and others 

That, though they were friends to the measures themselves, 
and saw the impossibility that we should ever again be united 

[* Here, in the original manuscript, commence the " two preceding sheet*" referred 
to by Mr. Jefferson, page 26, as containing " notes" taken by him " whilst these 
things were going on." They are easily distinguished from the body of the MS. in 
which they were inserted by him, being of a paper very different in size, quality aud 
color, from that in which the latter is written.] 


with Great Britain, yet they were against adopting them at this 
time : 

That the conduct we had formerly observed was wise and 
proper now, of deferring to take any capital step till the voice of 
the people drove us into it : 

That they were our power, and without them our declararations 
could not be carried into effect : 

That the people of the middle colonies (Maryland, Delaware, 
Pennsylvania, the Jerseys and New York) were not yet ripe for 
bidding adieu to British connection, but that they were fast ripen- 
ing, and, in a short time, would join in the general voice of 
America : 

That the resolution, entered into by this House on the 15th of 
May, for suppressing the exercise of all powers derived from the 
crown, had shown, by the ferment into which it had thrown 
these middle colonies, that they had not yet accommodated their 
minds to a separation from the mother country : 

That some of them had expressly forbidden their delegates to 
consent to such a declaration, and others had given no instruc- 
tions, and consequently no powers to give such consent : 

That if the delegates of any particular colony had no power 
to declare such colony independent, certain they were, the others 
could not declare it for them ; the colonies being as yet perfectly 
independent of each other : 

That the assembly of Pennsylvania was now sitting above 
stairs, their convention would sit within a few days, the conven- 
tion of New York was now sitting, and those of the Jerseys and 
Delaware counties would meet on the Monday following, and it 
was probable these bodies would take up the question of Inde- 
pendenca, and would declare to their delegates the voice of 
their state : 

That if such a declaration should now be agreed to, these del- 
egates must retire, and possibly their colonies might secede from 
the Union : 

That such a secession would weaken us more than could be 
compensated by any foreign alliance : 


That in the event of such a division, foreign powers would 
either refuse to join themselves to our fortunes, or, having us so 
much in their power as that desperate declaration would place us, 
they would insist on terms proportionably more hard and preju- 
dicial : 

That we had little reason to expect an alliance with those to 
whom alone, as yet, we had cast our eyes : 

That France and Spain had reason to be jealous of that rising 
power, which would one day certainly strip them of all their 
American possessions : 

That it was more likely they should form a connection with 
the British court, who, if they should find themselves unable 
otherwise to extricate themselves from their difficulties, would 
agree to a partition of our teritories, restoring Canada to France, 
and the Floridas to Spain, to accomplish for themselves a recov- 
ery of these colonies : 

That it would not be long before we should receive certain in- 
formation of the disposition of the French court, from the agent 
whom we had sent to Paris for that purpose : 

That if this disposition should be favorable, by waiting the 
event of the present campaign, which we all hoped would be suc- 
cessful, we should have reason to expect an alliance on better 

That this would in fact work no delay of any effectual aid 
from such ally, as, from the advance of the season and distance 
of our situation, it was impossible we could receive any assist- 
ance during this campaign : 

That it was prudent to fix among ourselves the terms on which 
we should form alliance, before we declared we would form one 
at all events : 

And that if these were agreed on, and our Declaration of Inde- 
pendence ready by the time our Ambassador should be prepared 
to sail, it would be as well as to go into that Declaration at this day. 

On the other side, it was urged by J. Adams, Lee, Wythe, and 
others, that no gentleman had argued against the policy or the 
right of separation from Britain, nor had supposed it possible we 


should ever renew our connection ; that they had only opposed 
its being now declared : 

That the question was not whether, by a Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, we should make ourselves what we are not ; but 
whether we should declare a fact which already exists : 

That, as to the people or parliament of England, we had al- 
ways been independent of them, their restraints on our trade de- 
riving efficacy from our acquiescence only, and not from any 
rights they possessed of imposing them, and that so far, our con- 
nection had been federal only, and was now dissolved by the 
commencement of hostilities : 

That, as to the King, we had been bound to him by allegiance, -, 
but that this bond was now dissolved by his assent to the last act 
of Parliament, by which he declares us out of his protection, and 
by his levying war on us, a fact which had long ago proved us out 
of his protection ; it being a certain position in law, that allegi- 
ance and protection are reciprocal, the one ceasing when the other 
is withdrawn : 

That James the II. never declared the people of England out 
of his protection, yet his actions proved it, and the Parliament 
declared it : 

No delegates then can be denied, or ever want, a power of de- 
claring an existing truth : 

That the delegates from the Delaware counties having declared 
their constituents ready to join, there are only two colonies, Penn- 
sylvania and Maryland, whose delegates are absolutely tied up, 
and that these had, by their instructions, only reserved a right of 
confirming or rejecting the measure : 

That the instructions from Pennsylvania might be accounted 
for from the times in which they were drawn, near a twelvemonth 
ago, since which the face of affairs has totally changed : 

That within that time, it had become apparent that Britain was 
determined to accept nothing less than a carte-blanche, and that 
the King's answer to the Lord Mayor, Aldermen and Common 
Council of London, which had come to hand four days ago, must 
have satisfied every one of this point : 


That the people wait for us to lead the way : 

That they are in favor of the measure, though the instructions 
given by some of their representatives are not : 

That the voice of the representatives is not always consonant 
with the voice of the people, and that this is remarkably the case 
in these middle colonies : 

That the effect of the resolution of the 15th of May has proved 
this, which, raising the murmurs of some in the colonies of Penn- 
sylvania and Maryland, called forth the opposing voice of the freer 
part of the people, and proved them to be the majority even in 
these colonies : 

That the backwardness of these two colonies might be as- 
cribed, partly to the influence of proprietary power and connections, 
and partly, to their having not yet been attacked by the enemy : 

That these causes were not likely to be soon removed, as there 
seemed no probability that the enemy would make either of these 
the seat of this summer's war : 

That it would be vain to wait either weeks or months for per- 
fect unanimity, since it was impossible that all men should ever 
become of one sentiment on any question : 

That the conduct of some colonies, from the beginning of this 
contest, had given reason to suspect it was their settled policy 
to keep in the rear of the confederacy, that their particular pros- 
pect might be better, even in the worst event : 

That, therefore, it was necessary for those colonies who had 
thrown themselves forward and hazarded all from the beginning, 
to come forward now also, and put all again to their own hazard : 

That the history of the Dutch Revolution, of whom three states 
only confederated at first, proved that a secession of some colonies 
would not be so dangerous as some apprehended : 

That a declaration of Independence alone could render it con- 
sistent with Europeon delicacy, for European powers to treat with 
us, or even to receive an Ambassador from us : 

That till this, they would not receive our vessels into their 
ports, nor acknowledge the adjudications of our courts of admi- 
rality to be legitimate, in cases of capture of British vessels : 


That though France and Spain may be jealous of our rising 
power, they must think it will be much more formidable with the 
addition of Great Britain ; and will therefore see it their interest 
to prevent a coalition ; but should they refuse, we shall be but 
where we are ; whereas without trying, we shall never know 
whether they will aid us or not : 

That the present campaign may be unsuccessful, and therefore 
we had better propose an alliance while our affairs wear a hope- 
ful aspect : 

That to wait the event of this campaign will certainly work 
delay, because, duriiig the summer, France may assist us effectu- 
ally, by cutting off those supplies of provisions from England and 
Ireland, on which the enemy's armies here are to depend ; or by 
setting in motion the great power they have collected in the West 
Indies, and calling our enemy to the defence of the possessions 
they have there : 

That it would be idle to lose time in settling the terms of alli- 
ance, till we had first determined we would enter into alliance : 

That it is necessary to lose no time in opening a trade for our 
people, who will want clothes, and will want money too, for the 
payment of taxes : 

And that the only misfortune is, that we did not enter into alli- 
ance with France six months sooner, as, besides opening her ports 
for the vent of our last year's produce, she might have marched 
an army into Germany, and prevented the petty princes there, 
from selling their unhappy subjects to subdue us. 

It appearing in the course of these debates, that the colonies of 
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and 
South Carolina were not yet matured for falling from the parent 
stem, but that they were fast advancing to that state, it was 
thought most prudent to wait a while for them, and to postpone 
the final decision to July 1st ; but, that this might occasion as 
little delay as possible, a committee was appointed to prepare a 
Declaration of Independence. The committee were John Adams, 
Dr. -Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, and myself. 
Committees were also appointed, at the same time, to prepare a 
VOL i 2 


plan of confederation for the colonies, and to state the terms 
proper to be proposed for foreign alliance. The committee for 
drawing the Declaration of Independence, desired me to do it. 
It was accordingly done, and being approved by them, I reported 
it to the House on Friday, the 28th of June, when it was read, 
and ordered to lie on the table. On Monday, the 1st of July, the 
House resolved itself into a committee of the whole, and re- 
sumed the consideration of the original motion made by the dele- 
gates of Virginia, which, being again debated through the day, 
was carried in the affirmative by the votes of New Hampshire, 
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, 
Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. South Carolina and Penn- 
sylvania voted against it. Delaware had but two members 
present, and they were divided. The delegates from New York 
declared they were for it themselves, and were assured their con- 
stituents were for it ; but that their instructions having been 
drawn near a twelvemonth before, when reconciliation was still 
the general object, they were enjoined by them to do nothing 
which should impede that object. They, therefore, thought 
themselves not justifiable in voting on either side, and asked leave 
to withdraw from the question ; which was given them. The 
committee rose and reported their resolution to the House. Mr. 
Edward Rutledge, of South Carolina, then requested the deter- 
mination might be put off to the next day, as he believed his 
colleagues, though they disapproved of the resolution, would then 
join in it for the sake of unanimity. The ultimate question, 
whether the House would agree to the resolution of the com- 
mittee, was accordingly postponed to the next day, when it was 
again moved, and South Carolina concurred in voting for it. In 
the meantime, a third member had come post from the Delaware 
counties, and turned the vote of that colony in favor of the reso- 
lution. Members of a different sentiment attending that morning 
from Pennsylvania also, her vote was changed, so that the whole 
twelve colonies who were authorized to vote at all, gave their 
voices for it ; and, within a few days,* the convention of New 

* July 9. 


York approved of it, and thus supplied the void occasioned by the 
withdrawing of her delegates from the vote. 

Congress proceeded the same day to consider the Declaration 
of Independence, which had been reported and lain on the table 
the Friday preceding, and on Monday referred to a committee of 
the whole. The pusillanimous idea that we had friends in Eng- 
land worth keeping terms with, still haunted the minds of many. 
For this reason, those passages which conveyed censures on the 
people of England were struck out, lest they should give them 
offence. The clause too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabit- 
ants of Africa, was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina * 
and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation 
of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still wished to continue it. 
Our northern brethren also, I believe, felt a little tender under those 
censures ; for though their people had very few slaves themselves, 
yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others. 
The debates, having taken up the greater parts of the 2d, 3d, and 
4th days of July, were, on the evening of the last, closed ; the 
Declaration was reported by the committee, agreed to by the 
House, and signed by every member present, except Mr. Dickin- 
son. As the sentiments of men are known not only by what 
they receive, but what they reject also, I will state the form of 
the Declaration as originally reported. The parts struck out by 
Congress shall be distinguished by a black line drawn under 
them ;* and those inserted by them shall be placed in the margin, 
or in a concurrent column. 

A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of 
America, in General Congress assembled. 

When, in the course of human events, it becomes 
necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands 
which have connected them with another, and to as- 
sume among the powers of the earth the separate and 

[* In this publication, the parts struck out are printed in Italics and inclosed in 


equal station to which the laws of nature and of na- 
ture's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opin- 
ions of mankind requires that they should declare the 
causes which impel them to the separation. 

We hold these truths to be self evident : that all 
men are created equal ; that they are endowed by 

certain their creator with [inherent and] inalienable rights ; 

that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of 
happiness ; that to secure these rights, governments 
are instituted among men, deriving their just powers 
from the consent of the governed ; that whenever any 
form of government becames destructive of these ends, 
it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and 
to institute new government, laying its foundation on 
such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, 
as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety 
and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that 
governments long established should not be changed 
for light and transient causes ; and accordingly all ex- 
perience hath shown that mankind are more disposed 
to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right them- 
selves by abolishing the forms to which they are ac- 
customed. But when a long train of abuses and usurp- 
ations, [begun at a distinguished period and] pursu- 
ing invariably the same object, evinces a design to re- 
duce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, 
it is their duty to throw off such government, and to 
provide new guards for their future security. Such 
has been the patient sufferance of these colonies ; and 
such is now the necessity which constrains them to 

alter [expunge] their former systems of government. The 

history of the present king of Great Britain is a his- 

repeated tory of [unremitting] injuries and usurpations, [among 
which appears no solitary fact to contradict the uniform 

aii bavin? tenor of the rest, but all have] in direct object the 
establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. 


To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world 
[for the truth of which we pledge a faith yet unsullied 
by falsehood.] 

He has refused his assent to laws the most whole- 
some and necessary for the public good. 

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of im- 
mediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in 
their operation till his assent should be obtained ; and, 
when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend 
to them. 

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommo- 
dation of large districts of people, unless those people 
would relinquish the right of representation in the 
legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable 
to tyrants only. 

He has called together legislative bodies at places 
unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the deposi- 
tory of their public records, for the sole purpose of 
fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly 
[and continually] for opposing with manly firmness 
his invasions on the rights of the people. 

He has refused for a long time after such dissolu- 
tions to cause others to be elected, whereby the legis- 
lative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned 
to the people at large for their exercise, the state re- 
maining, in the meantime, exposed to all the dangers 
of invasion from without and convulsions within. 

He has endeavored to prevent the population of 
these states ; for that purpose obstructing the laws for 
naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to 
encourage their migrations hither, and raising the con- 
ditions of new appropriations of lands. 

He has [suffered] the administration of justice [to- obstructed 
tally to cease in some of these states] refusing his as- by 

sent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. 


He has made [our] judges dependent on his will 
alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount 
and payment of their salaries. 

He has erected a multitude of new offices, [by a 
self-assumed power] and sent hither swarms of new 
officers to harass our people and eat out their sub- 

He has kept among us in times of peace standing 
armies [and ships of war] without the consent of our 

He has affected to render the military independent 
of, and superior to, the civil power. 

He has combined with others to subject us to a ju- 
risdiction foreign to our constitutions and unacknowl- 
edged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of 
pretended legislation for quartering large bodies of 
armed troops among us ; for protecting them by a 
mock trial from punishment for any murders which 
they should commit on the inhabitants of these states; 
for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world ; 
for imposing taxes on us without our consent ; for de- 

.n many cases priving us [ ] of the benefits of trial by jury ; for trans- 
porting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended of- 
fences ; for abolishing the free system of English laws 
in a neighboring province, establishing therein an ar- 
bitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so 
as to render it at once an example and fit instrument 
for introducing the same absolute rule into these 

colonies [states] ; for taking away our charters, abolishing our 

most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the 
forms of our governments ; for suspending our own 
legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with 
power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. 

out d ofhil na >r" ^ e ^ as a bdicated government here [withdrawing 

ShTO his S overn o r s, and declaring us out of his allegiance 

against ua. an ^ protection.] 


He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, 
burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our peo- 

He is at this time transporting large armies of for- 
eign mercenaries to complete the works of death, deso- 
lation and tyranny already begun with,; circumstances 
of cruelty and perfidy f 1 unworthy the head of a scarcely parai- 

' * L J * leledinthe 

civilized nation. mostbarta- 

roug ages, and 

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive totall y 
on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to 
become the executioners of their friends and brethren, 
or to fall themselves by their hands. 

He has [ ] endeavored to bring on the inhabitants ucl^i-re** 
of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose j^J ong U!S 
known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruc- 
tion of all ages, sexes and conditions [of existence.] 

[He has incited treasonable insurrections of our fel- 
low citizens, with the allurements of forfeiture and 
confiscation of our property. .. 

He has waged cruel war against human nature it- ^ 
self, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty 
in the persons of a distant people who never offended 
him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in 
another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their 
transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the 
opprobium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the 
CHRISTIAN king' of Great Britain. Determined to 
keep open a market where MEN should be bought and 
sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing 
every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this 
execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of hor- 
rors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now 
exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, 
and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived 
them, by murdering the people on whom he also ob- 
truded them : thus pay ing off former crimes committed 


against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes which 
he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another.] 
In every stage of these oppressions we have petition- 
ed for redress in the most humble terms : our repeated 
petitions have been answered only by repeated injuries. 
A prince whose character is thus marked by every 
act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of 
free a [ ] people [who mean to be free. Future ages will 

scarcely believe that the hardiness of one man adven- 
tured, within the short compass of twelve years only, 
to lay a foundation so broad and so undisguised for 
tyranny over a people fostered and fixed in principles 
of freedom.] 

Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our 
British brethren. We have warned them from time 
abie Unwarrant to time of attempts by their legislature to extend [a] 
us jurisdiction over [these our states]. We have re- 

minded them of the circumstances of our emigration 
and settlement here, [no one of which could warrant 
so strange a pretension : that these were effected at 
the expense of our own blood and treasure, unassisted 
by the wealth or the strength of Great Britain : that 
in constituting indeed our several forms of govern- 
ment, we had adopted one common king, thereby lay- 
ing a foundation for perpetual league and amity 
with them : but that submission to their parliament 
was no part of our constitution, nor ever in idea, if 
have history may be credited: and,} we [ ] appealed to 

wnj*red ha them their native justice and magnanimity [as well as to] 
the ties of our common kindred to disavow these 
wonid inevit- usurpations which [were likely to] interrupt our con- 
nection and correspondence. They too have been 
deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity, 
[and when occasions have been given them, by the 
regular course of their laws, of removing from their 
councils the disturbers of our harmony, they have, by 



their free election, re-established them in power. At 
this very time too, they are permitting their chief 
magistrate to send over not only soldiers of our com- 
mon blood, but Scotch and foreign mercenaries to in- 
vade and destroy its. These facts have given the last 
stab to agonizing affection, and manly spirit bids us 
to renounce forever these unfeeling brethren. We 
must endeavor to forget our former love for them, and 
hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies 
in war, in peace friends. We might have been a free 
and a great people together ; but a communication 
of grandeur and of freedom, it seems, is below their 
dignity. Be it so, since they will have it. The road 
to happiness and to glory is open to us too. We 
will tread it apart from them, and] acquiesce in the 
necessity which denounces our [eternal] separa- 

tion [ ] ! 

We therefore the representa- 
tives of the United States of 
America in General Congress 
assembled, do in the name, and 
by the authority of the good 
people of these [states reject 
and renounce all allegiance and 
subjection to the kings of Great 
Britain and all others who may 
hereafter claim by, through or 
under them ; we utterly dissolve 
all political connection which 
may heretofore have subsisted 
between us and the people or 
parliament of Great Britain : 
and finally we do assert and 
declare these colonies to be free 


and hold them 
as we hold the 
rest of man- 
kind, enemies 
in war, in 
peace friends. 

We, therefore, the representa- 
tives of the United States of 
America in General Congress 
assembled, appealing to the su- 
preme judge of the world for 
the rectitude of our intentions, 
do in the name, and by the au- 
thority of the good people of 
these colonies, solemnly publish 
and declare, that these united 
colonies are, and of right ought 
to be free and independent 
states; that they are absolved 
from all allegiance to the British 
crown, and that all political con- 
nection between them and the 
state of Great Britain is, and 



and independent states,] and 
that as free and independen 
states, they have full power to 
levy war, conclude peace, con- 
tract alliances, establish com- 
merce, and to do all other acts 
and things which independent 
states may of right do. 

And for the support of this 
declaration, we mutually pledge 
to each other our lives, our for- 
tunes, and our sacred honor. 

ought" to be, totally dissolved ; 
and that as free and independent 
states, they have full power to 
levy war, conclude peace, con- 
tract alliances, establish com- 
merce, and to do all other acts 
and things which independent 
states may of right do. 

And for the support of this 
declaration, with a firm reliance 
on the protection of divine prov- 
idence, we mutually pledge to 
each other our lives, our for- 
tunes, and our sacred honor. 

The Declaration thus signed on the 4th, on paper, was en- 
grossed on parchment, and signed again on the 2d of August. 

[Some erroneous statements of the proceedings on the Declara- 
tion of Independence having got before the public in latter times, 
Mr. Samuel A. Wells asked explanations of me, which are given 
in my letter to him of May 12, '19, before and now again refer- 
red to.* I took notes in my place while these things were going 
on, and at their close wrote them out in form and with correct- 
ness, and from 1 to 7 of the two preceding sheets, are the origin- 
als then written ; as the two following are of the earlier debates 
on the Confederation, which I took in like manner. |] 

On Friday, July 12, the committee appointed to draw the arti- 
cles of Confederation reported them, and, on the 22d, the House 
resolved themselves into a committee to take them into considera- 
tion. On the 30th and 31st of that month, and 1st of the en- 
suing, those articles were debated which determined the propor- 

[* See Appendix, note B.] 

[f The above note of the author is on a slip of paper, pasted in at the end of 
the Declaration. Here is also sewed into the MS. a slip of newspaper containing, 
under the head " Declaration of Independence," a letter from Thomas M'Kean, to 
Messrs. William M'Corkle <t Son, dated ' Philadelphia, June 16, 1817." This letter 
it to be found in the Port Folio, Sept. 1817, p. 249.] 


tion, or quota, of money which each state should furnish to the 
common treasury, and the manner of voting in Congress. The 
first of these articles was expressed in the original draught in 
these words. " Art. XI. All charges of war and all other ex- 
penses that shall be incurred for the common defence, or general 
welfare, and allowed by the United States assembled, shall be de- 
frayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the 
several colonies in proportion to the number of inhabitants of every 
age, sex, and quality, except Indians not paying taxes, in each 
colony, a true account of which, distinguishing the white inhabit- 
ants, shall be triennially taken and transmitted to the Assembly 
of the United States." 

Mr^jQhase moved that the quotas should be fixed, not by the 
number of inhabitants of every condition, but by that of the 
" white inhabitants." He admitted that taxation should be al- 
ways in proportion to property, that this was, in theory, the true 
rule ; but that, from a variety of difficulties, it was a rule which 
could never be adopted in practice. The value of the property in 
every State, could never be estimated justly and equally. Some 
other measure for the wealth of the State must therefore be de- 
vised, some standard referred to, which would be more simple. 
He considered the number of inhabitants as a tolerably good cri- 
terion of property, and that this might always be obtained. He 
therefore thought it the best mode which we could\ adopt, with 
one exception only : he observed that negroes are property, and 
as such, cannot be distinguished from the lands or personalities 
held in those States where there are few slaves ; that the surplus 
of profit which a Northern farmer is able to lay by, he invests in 
cattle, horses, &c., whereas a Southern farmer lays out the same 
surplus in slaves. There is no more reason, therefore, for taxing 
the Southern States on the fanner's head, and on his slave's head, 
than the Northern ones on their farmer's heads and the heads of 
their cattle ; that the method proposed would, therefore, tax the 
Southern States according to their numbers and their wealth con- 
junctly, while the Northern would be taxed on numbers only : 
that negroes, in fact, should not be considered as members of 


the State, more than cattle, and that they have no more interest 
in it. 

Mr. John Adams observed, that the numbers of people were 
taken by this article, as an index of the wealth of the State, and 
not as subjects of taxation ; that, as to this matter, it was of no 
consequence by what name you called your people, whether by 
that of freemen or of slaves ; that in some countries the laboring 
poor were called freemen, in others they were called slaves ; but 
that the difference as to the state was imaginary only. What mat- 
ters it whether a landlord, employing ten laborers on his farm, 
gives them annually as much money as will buy them the neces- 
saries of life, or gives them those necessaries at short hand ? The 
ten laborers add as much wealth annually to the State, increase its 
exports as much in the one case as the other. Certainly five 
hundred freemen produce no more profits, no greater surplus for 
the payment of taxes, than five hundred slaves. Therefore, the 
State in which are the laborers called freemen, should be taxed no 
more than that in which are those called slaves. Suppose, by an 
extraordinary operation of nature or of law, one half the laborers 
of a State could in the course of one night be transformed into 
slaves ; would the State be made the poorer or the less able to pay 
taxes ? That the condition of the laboring poor in most coun- 
tries, that of the fishermen particularly of the Northern States, is 
as abject as that of slaves. It is the number of laborers which 
produces the surplus for taxation, and numbers, therefore, indis- 
criminately, are the fair index of wealth ; that it is the use of the 
word " property" here, and its application to some of the people 
of the State, which produces the fallacy. How does the South- 
ern farmer procure slaves ? Either by importation or by purchase 
from his neighbor. If he imports a slave, he adds one to the 
number of laborers in his country, and proportionably to its profits 
and abilities to pay taxes ; if he buys from his neighbor, it is only 
a transfer of a laborer from one farm to another, which does not 
change the annual produce of the State, and therefore, should not 
change its tax : that if a Northern farmer works ten laborers on 
his farm, he can, it is true, invest the surplus of ten men's labor 


in cattle ; but so may the Southern farmer, working ten slaves ; 
that a State of one hundred thousand freemen can maintain no 
more cattle, than one of one hundred thousand slaves. There- 
fore, they have no more of that kind of property ; that a slave 
may indeed, from the custom of speech, be more properly called 
the wealth of his master, than the free laborer might be called 
the wealth of his employer ; but as to the State, both were equally 
its wealth, and should, therefore, equally add to the quota of its tax. 

Mr. Harrison proposed, as a compromise, that two slaves should 
be counted as one freeman. He affirmed that sjaves did not do 
as much work as freemen, and doubted if two effected more than 
one ; that this was proved by the price of labor ; the hire of a 
laborer in the Southern colonies being from 8 to 12, while in 
the Northern it was generally 24. 

Mr. Wilson said, that if this amendment should take place, the 
Southern colonies would have all the benefit of slaves, whilst the 
Northern ones would bear the burthen : that slaves increase the 
profits of a State, which the Southern States mean to take to them- 
selves ; that they also increase the burthen of defence, which 
would of course fall so much the heavier on the Northern : that 
slaves occupy the places of freemen, and eat their food. Dismiss 
your slaves, and freemen will take their places. It is our duty to 
lay every discouragement on the importation of slaves ; but this 
amendment would give the jus triiun liberorum to him who 
would import slaves : that other kinds of property were pretty 
equally distributed through all the colonies : there were as many 
cattle, horses and sheep, in the North as the South, and South as 
the North ; but not so as to slaves : that experience has shown 
that those colonies have been always able to pay most, which 
have the most inhabitants, whether they be black or white ; and 
the practice of the Southern colonies has always been to make 
every farmer pay poll taxes upon all his laborers, whether they 
be black or white. He acknowledges, indeed, that freemen work 
the most ; but they consume the most also. They do not pro- 
duce a greater surplus for taxation. The slave is neither fed nor 
clothed so expensively as a freeman. Again, white women are 


exempted from labor generally, but negro women are not. In 
this, then, the Southern States have an advantage as the article 
now stands. It has sometimes been said, that slavery is neces- 
sary, because the commodities they raise would be too clear for 
market if cultivated by freemen ; but now it is said that the labor 
of the slave is the dearest. 

Mr. Payne urged the original resolution of Congress, to propor- 
tion the quotas of the States to the number of souls. 

Dr. Witherspoon was of opinion, that the value of lands and 
houses was the best estimate of the wealth of a nation, and that 
it was practicable to obtain such a valuation. This is the true 
barometer of wealth. The one now proposed is imperfect in it- 
self, and unequal between the States. It has been objected that 
negroes eat the food of freemen, and, therefore, should be taxed ; 
horses also eat the food of freemen ; therefore they also should be 
taxed. It has been said too, that in carrying slaves into the esti- 
mate of the taxes the State is to pay, we do no more than those 
States themselves do, who always take slaves into the estimate of 
the taxes the individual is to pay. But the cases are not parallel. 
In the Southern colonies slaves pervade the whole colony ; but 
they do not pervade the whole continent. That as to the original 
resolution of Congress, to proportion the quotas according to the 
souls, it was temporary only, and related to the moneys heretofore 
emitted : whereas we are now entering into a new compact, and 
therefore stand on original ground. 

August 1. The question being put, the amendment proposed 
was rejected by the votes of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, 
Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Penn- 
sylvania, against those of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North 
and South Carolina. Georgia was divided. 

The other article was in these words. '<Art. XVII. In deter- 
mining questions, each colony sh'all have one vote." 

July 30, 31, August 1. Present forty-one members. Mr. 
Chase observed this article was the most likely to divide us, of 
any one proposed in the draught then under consideration : that 
the larger colonies had threatened they would not confederate at 


all, if their weight in Congress should not be equal to the num- 
bers of people they added to the confederacy ; while the smaller 
ones declared against a union, if they did not retain an equal vote 
for the protection of their rights. That it was of the utmost con- 
sequence to bring the parties together, as, should we sever from 
each other, either no foreign power will ally with us at all, or the 
different States will form different alliances, and thus increase the 
horrors of those scenes of civil war and bloodshed, which in such 
a state of separation and independence, would render us a miserable 
people. That our importance, our interests, our peace required that 
we should confederate, and that mutual sacrifices should be made 
to effect a compromise of this difficult question. He was of opinion, 
the smaller colonies would lose their rights, if they were not fh 
some instances allowed an equal vote ; and, therefore, that a dis- 
crimination should take place among the questions which would 
come before Congress. That the smaller States should be se- 
cured in all questions concerning life or liberty, and the greater 
ones, in all respecting property. He, therefore, proposed, that in 
votes relating to money, the voice of each colony should be pro- 
portioned to the number of its inhabitants. 

Dr. Franklin thought, that the votes should be so proportioned 
in all cases. He took notice that the Delaware counties had 
bound up their delegates to disagree to this article. He thought 
it a very extraordinary language to be held by any State, that they 
would not confederate with us, unless we would let them dispose 
of our money. Certainly, if we vote equally, we ought to pay 
equally ; but the smaller States will hardly purchase the privilege 
at this price. That had he lived in a State where the representa- 
tion, originally equal, had become unequal by time and accident, 
he might have submitted rather than disturb government ; but 
that we should be very wrong to set out in this practice, when it 
is in our power to establish what is right. That at the time of 
the Union between England and Scotland, the latter had made 
the objection which the smaller States now do ; but experience 
had proved that no unfairness had ever been shown them : that 
their advocates had prognosticated that it would again happen, as 


in times of old, that the whale would swallow Jonas, but he 
thought the prediction reversed in event, and that Jonas had swal- 
lowed the whale ; for the Scotch had in fact got possession of the 
government, and gave laws to the English. He reprobated the 
original agreement of Congress to vote by colonies, and, there- 
fore, was for their voting, in all cases, according to the number 
of taxables. 

Dr. Witherspoon opposed every alteration of the article. All 
men admit that a confederacy is necessary. Should the idea get 
abroad that there is likely to be no union among us, it will damp 
the minds of the people, diminish the glory of our straggle, and 
lessen its importance ; because it will open to our view future 
prospects of war and dissension among ourselves. If an equal 
vote be refused, the smaller States will become vassals to the 
larger ; and all experience has shown that the vassals and subjects 
of free States are the most enslaved. He instanced the Helots of 
Sparta, and the provinces of Rome. He observed that foreign 
powers, discovering this blemish, would make it a handle for dis- 
engaging the smaller States from so unequal a confederacy. That 
the colonies should in fact be considered as individuals ; and that, 
as such, in all disputes, they should have an equal vote ; that they 
are now collected as individuals making a bargain with each 
other, and, of course, had a right to vote as individuals. That 
in the East India Company they voted by persons, and not by 
their proportion of stock. That the Belgic confederacy voted by 
provinces. That in questions of war the smaller States were as 
much interested as the larger, and therefore, should vote equally ; 
and indeed, that the larger States were more likely to bring war 
on the confederacy, in proportion as their frontier was more ex- 
tensive. He admitted that equality of representation was an ex- 
cellent principle, but then it must be of things which are co-or- 
dinate ; that is, of things similar, and of the same nature : that 
nothing relating to individuals could ever come before Congress ; 
nothing but what would respect colonies. He distinguished be- 
tween an incorporating and a federal union. The union of Eng- 
land was an incorporating one ; yet Scotland had suffered by that 


union ; for that its inhabitants were drawn from iv by the hopes 
of places and employments : nor was it an instance of equality 
of representation ; because, while Scotland was allowed nearly a 
thirteenth of representation, they were to pay only one fortieth of 
the land tax. He expressed his hopes, that in the present en- 
lightened state of men's minds, we might expect a lasting con- 
federacy, if it was founded or>. fair principles. 

John Adams advocated the voting in proportion to numbers. 
He said that we stand here as the representatives of the people : 
that in some States the people are many, in others they are few ; 
that therefore, their vote here should be proportioned to the num- 
bers from whom it comes. JRcns^n, j'^ti^p and.^uitjt never had 
weight enough on the face of the earth, to govern the councils of 
men. It isjntcrest alone which does it, and it is interest alone 
which can be trusted : that therefore the interests within doors, 
should be the mathematical representatives of the interests without 
doors : that the individuality of the colonies is a mere sound. 
Does the individuality of a colony increase its wealth or num- 
bers ? If it docs, pay equally. If it does not add weight in the 
scale of the confederacy, it cannot add to their rights, nor weigh 
in argument. A. has 50, B. 500, C. 1000 in partnership. Is 
it just they should equally dispose of the moneys of the partner- 
ship ? It has been said, we are independent individuals making 
a bargain together. The question is not what we are now, bul 
what we ought to be when our bargain shall be made. The con- 
federacy is to make us one individual only ; it is to form us like 
separate parcels of metal, into one common mass. We shall no 
longer retain our separate individuality, but become a single in- 
dividual as to all questions submitted to the confederacy. There- 
fore, all those reasons, which prove the justice and expediency of 
equal representation in other assemblies, hold good here. It has 
been objected that a proportional vote will endanger the smallei 
States. We answer that an equal vote will endanger the larger. 
Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, are the three greatei 
colonies. Consider their distance, their difference of produce, of 

interests, and of manners, and it is apparent they can never have 
VOL. i. 3 


an interest or inclination to combine for the oppression of the 
smaller : that the smaller will naturally divide on all questions 
with the larger. Rhode Island, from its relation, similarity and 
intercourse, will generally pursue the same objects with Massav 
chusetts ; Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, with Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Rush took notice, that the decay of the liberties of the 
Dutch republic proceeded from three causes. 1. The perfect 
unanimity requisite on all occasions. 2. Their obligation to 
consult their constituents. 3. Their voting by provinces. This 
last destroyed the equality of representation, and the liberties of 
Great Britain also are sinking from the same defect. That a 
part of our rights is deposited in the hands of our legislatures. 
There, it was admitted, there should be an equality of representa- 
tion. Another part of our rights is deposited in the hands of 
Congress : why is it not equally necessary there should be an 
equal representation there ? Were it possible to collect the whole 
body of the people together, they would determine the questions 
submitted to them by their majority. Why should not the same 
majority decide when voting here, by their representatives ? The 
larger colonies are so providentially divided in situation, as to 
render every fear of their combining visionary. Their interests 
are different, and their circumstances dissimilar. It is more prob- 
able they will become rivals, and leave it in the power of the 
smaller States to give preponderance to any scale they please. The 
voting by the number of free inhabitants, will have one excellent 
effect, that of inducing the colonies to discourage slavery, and to 
encourage the increase of their free inhabitants. 

Mr. Hopkins observed, there were* four larger, four smaller, and 
four middle-sized colonies. That the four largest would contain 
more than half the inhabitants of the confederated States, and 
therefore, would govern the others as they should please. That 
history affords no instance of such a thing as equal representation. 
The Germanic body votes by States. The Helvetic body does 
the same ; and so does the Belgic confederacy. That too little 
is known of the ancient confederations, to say what was their 


Mr. Wilson thought, that taxation should he in proportion to 
wealth, hut that representation should accord with the number 
of freemen. That government is a collection or result of the 
wills of all : that if any government could speak the will of all, 
it would he perfect ; and that, so far as it departs from this, it he- 
comes imperfect. It has been said that Congress is a representa- 
tion of States, not of individuals. I say, that the objects of its 
care are all the individuals of the States. It is strange that an- 
nexing the name of " State" to ten thousand men, should give 
them an equal right with forty thousand. This must he the ef- 
fect of magic, not of reason. As to those matters which are re- 
ferred to Congress, we are not so many States ; we are one large 
State. We lay aside our individuality, whenever we come here. 
The Germanic body is a burlesque on government ; and their 
practice, on any point, is a sufficient authority and proof that it 
is wrong. The greatest imperfection in the constitution of the 
Belgic confederacy is their voting by provinces. The interest 
of the whole is constantly sacrificed to that of the small States. 
The history of the war in the reign of Queen Anne sufficiently 
proves this. It is asked, shall nine colonies put it into the power 
of four to govern them as they please ? I invert the question, 
and ask, shall two millions of people put it in the power of one 
million to govern them as they please ? It is pretended, too, that 
the smaller colonies will be in danger from the greater. Speak 
in honest language and say, the minority will be in danger from 
' the majority. And is there an assembly on earth, where this 
danger may not be equally pretended ? The truth is, that our 
proceedings will then be consentaneous with the interests of the 
majority, and so they ought to be. The probability is much 
greater, that the larger States will disagree, than that they will 
combine. I defy the wit of man to invent a possible case, or to 
suggest any one thing on earth, which shall be for the interests 
of Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, and which will not 
also be for the interest of the other States.* 

[* Here terminate the author's notes of the " earlier debates on the confederation," 
and recommences the MS. begun by him in 1821.] 


These articles, reported July 12, '76, were debated froih day 
to day, and time to time, for two years, were ratified July 9, '78, 
by ten States, by New Jersey on the 26th of November of the 
same year, and by Delaware on the 23d of February following. 
Maryland alone held off two years more, acceding to them 
March 1, '81, and thus closing the obligation. 

Our delegation had been renewed for the ensuing year, com- 
mencing August 11 ; but the new goverjjment was now organized, 
a meeting of the legislature was to be held in October, and I had 
been elected a member by my county. I knew that our legisla- 
tion, under the regal government, had many very vicious points 
which urgently required reformation, and I thought I could be of 
more use in forwarding that work. I therefore retired from my 
seat in Congress on the 2d of September, resigned it, and took 
my place in the legislature of my State, on the 7th of October. 

On the llth, I moved for leave to bring in a bill for the estab- 
lishment of courts of justice, the organization of which was of 
importance. I drew the bill ; it was approved by the committee, 
reported and passed, after going through its due course. 

On the 12th, I obtained leave to bring in a bill declaring 
tenants in tail to hold their lands in fee simple. In the earlier 
times of the colony, when lands were to be obtained for little or 
nothing, some provident individuals procured large grants ; and, 
desirous of founding great families for themselves, settled them 
on their descendants in fee tail. The transmission of this property 
from generation to generation, in the same name, raised up a dis- - 
tinct set of families, who, being privileged by law in the perpetua- 
tion of their wealth, were thus formed into a Patrician order, dis- 
tinguished by the splendor and luxury of their establishments. 
From this order, too, the king habitually selected his counsellors 
of State ; the hope of which distinction devoted the whole corps to 
the interests and will of the crown. To annul this privilege, and 
instead of an aristocracy of wealth, of more harm and danger, than 
benefit, to society, to make an opening for the aristocracy of virtue 
and talent, which nature has wisely provided for the direction of 
the interests of society, and scattered with equal hand through all 


its conditions, was deemed essential to a well-ordered republic. 
To effect it, no violence was necessary, no deprivation of natural 
right, but rather an enlargement of it by a repeal of the law. For 
this would authorize the present holder to divide the property 
among his children equally, as his affections were divided ; and 
would place them, by natural generation, on the level of their 
fellow citizens. But this repeal was strongly opposed by Mr. 
Pendleton, who was zealously attached to ancient establishments ; 
and who, taken all in all, was the ablest man in debate I have 
ever met with. He had not indeed the poetical fancy of Mr. 
Henry, his sublime imagination, his lofty and overwhelming 
diction ; but he was cool, smooth and persuasive ; his language 
flowing, chaste and embellished ; his conceptions quick, acute and 
full of resource ; never vanquished : for if he lost the main battle, 
he returned upon you, and regained so much of it as to make it a 
drawn one, by dexterous manoEuvres, skirmishes in detail, and the 
recovery of small advantages which, little singly, were important 
all together. You never knew when you were clear of him, but 
were harassed by his perseverance, until the patience was worn 
down of all who had less of it than himself. Add to this, that he 
was one of the most virtuous and benevolent of men, the kindest 
friend, the most amiable and pleasant of companions, which en- 
sured a favorable reception to whatever came from him. Finding 
that the general principle of entails could not be maintained, he 
took his stand on an amendment which he proposed, instead of 
an absolute abolition, to permit the tenant in tail to convey in fee 
simple, if 'he choss it ; and he was within a few votes of saving 
so much of the old law. But the bill passed finally for entire 

In that one of the bills for organizing our judiciary system, 
which proposed a court of Chancery, I had provided for a trial 
by jury of all matters of fact, in that as well as in the courts 
of law. He defeated it by the introduction of four words only, 
" if 'either party choose." The consequence has been, that as no 
suitor will say to his judge, " Sir, I distrust you, give me a jury," 



juries are. rarely, I might say, perhaps, never, seen in that court, 
but when called for by the Chancellor of his own accord. 

The first establishment in Virginia which became permanent, 
was made in 1607. I have found no mention of negroes in the 
colony until about 1650. The first brought here as slaves were 
by a Dutch ship ; after which the English commenced the trade, 
and continued it until the revolutionary war. That suspended, 
ip so facto, their further importation for the present, and the busi- 
ness of the war pressing constantly on the legislature, this subject 
was not acted on finally until the year '78, when I brought in a 
bill to prevent their further importation. This passed without 
opposition, and stopped the increase of the evil by importation, 
leaving to future efforts its final eradication. 

The first settlers of this colony were Englishmen, loyal sub- 
jects to their king and church, and the grant to Sir Walter 
Raleigh contained an express proviso that their laws " should not 
be against the true Christian faith, now professed in the church 
of England." As soon as the state of the colony admitted, it 
was divided into parishes, in each of which was established a min- 
ister of the Anglican church, endowed with a fixed salary, in to- 
bacco, a glebe house and land with the other necessary appendages. 
To meet these expenses, all the inhabitants of the parishes were 
assessed, whether they were or not, members of the established 
church. Towards Quakers who came here, they were most 
cruelly intolerant, driving them from the colony by the severest 
penalties. In process of time, however, other sectarisms were in- 
troduced, chiefly of the Presbyterian family ; and the established 
clergy, secure for life in their glebes and salaries, adding to these, 
generally, the emoluments of a classical school, found employ- 
ment enough, in their farms and school-rooms, for the rest of the 
week, and devoted Sunday only to the edification of their flock, 
by service, and a sermon at their parish church. Their other 
pastoral functions were little attended to. Against this inactivity, 
the zeal and industry of sectarian preachers had an open and un- 
disputed field ; and by the time of the revolution, a majority of 
the inhabitants had become dissenters from the established church, 


but were still obliged to pay contributions to support the pastors 
of the minority. This unrighteous compulsion, to maintain 
teachers of what they deemed religious errors, was grievously felt 
during the regal government, and without a hope of relief. But 
the first republican legislature, which met in '76, was crowded 
with petitions to abolish this spiritual tyranny. These brought 
on the severest contests in which I have ever been engaged. Our 
great opponents were Mr. Pendleton and Robert Carter Nicholas ; 
honest men, but zealous churchmen. The petitions were referred 
to the committee of the whole house on the state of the country 
and, after desperate contests in that committee, almost daily frorr 
the llth of October to the 5th of December, we prevailed so fai 
only, as to repeal the laws which rendered criminal the mainten- 
ance of any religious opinions, the forbearance of repairing tc 
church, or the exercise of any mode of worship ; and further, tc 
exempt dissenters from contributions to the support of the estab- 
lished church ; and to suspend, only until the next session, levies 
on the members of that church for the salaries of their own in- 
cumbents. For although the majority of our citizens were dis- 
senters, ars has been observed, a majority of the legislature were 
churchmen. Among these, however, were some reasonable and 
liberal men, who enabled us, on some points, to obtain feeble ma- 
jorities. But our opponents carried, in the general resolutions of 
the committee of November 19, a declaration that religious assem- 
blies ought to be regulated, and that provision ought to be made 
for continuing the succession of the clergy, and superintending 
their conduct. And, in the bill now passed, was inserted an ex- 
press reservation of the question, Whether a general assessment 
should not be established by law, on every one, to the support of 
the pastor of his choice ; or whether all should be left to volun- 
tary contributions ; and on this question,, debated at every session, 
from '76 to '79, (some of our dissenting allies, having now se- 
cured their particular object, going over to the advocates of a gen- 
eral assessment,) we could only obtain a suspension from session 
to session until '79, when the question against a general assess- 
nent was finally carried, and the establishment of the Anglican 


church entirely put down. In justice to the two honest but 
zealous opponents who have been named, I must add, that al- 
though, from their natural temperaments, they were more dis- 
posed generally to acquiesce in things as they are, than to risk in- 
novations, yet whenever the public will had once decided, none 
were more faithful or exact in their obedience to it. 

The seat of our government had originally been fixed in the 
peninsula of Jamestown, the first settlement of the colonists ; and 
had been afterwards removed a few miles inland to Williams- 
burg. But this was at a time when our settlements had not ex- 
tended beyond the tide waters. Now they had crossed the Al- 
leghany ; and the centre of population was very far removed from 
what it had been. Yet Williamsburg was still the depository of 
our archives, the habitual residence of the Governor and many 
other of the public functionaries, the established place for the 
sessions of the legislature, and the magazine of our military 
stores ; and its situation was so exposed that it might be taken at 
any time in war, and, at this time particularly, an enemy might 
in the night run up either of the rivers, between which it lies, 
land a force above, and take possession of the place, without the 
possibility of saving either persons or things. I had proposed its 
removal so early as October, '76 ; but it did not prevail until the 
session of May, '79. 

Early in the session of May, '79, 1 prepared, and obtained leave 
to bring in a bill, declaring who should be deemed citizens, as- 
serting the natural right of expatriation, and prescribing the mode 
of exercising it. This, when I withdrew from the house, on the 
1st of June following, I left in the hands of George Mason, and 
it was passed on the 26th of that month. 

In giving this account of the laws of which I was myself the 
mover and draughtsman, I, by no means, mean to claim to my- 
self the merit of obtaining their passage. I had many occasional 
and strenuous coadjutors in debate, and one, most steadfast, able 
and zealous ; who was himself a host. This was George Mason, 
a man of the first order of wisdom among those who acted on 
the theatre of the revolution, of expansive mind, profound judg- 


meat, cogent in argument, learned in the lore of our former con- 
stitution, and earnest for the republican change on democratic 
principles. His elocution was neither flowing nor smooth ; but 
his language was strong, his manner most impressive, and 
strengthened by a dash of biting cynicism, when provocation 
made it seasonable. 

Mr. Wy the, while speaker in the two sessions of 1777, between 
his return from Congress and his appointment to the Chancery, 
was an able and constant associate in whatever was before a com- 
mittee of the whole. His pure integrity, judgment and reason- 
ing powers, gave him great weight. Of him, see more in some 
notes inclosed in my letter of August 31, 1821, to Mr. John 

Mr. Madison came into the House in 1776, a new member and 
young ; which circumstances, concurring with his extreme 
modesty, prevented his venturing himself in debate before his 
removal to the Council of State, in November, '77. From thence 
he went to Congress, then consisting of few members. Trained 
in these successive schools, he acquired a habit of self-possession, 
which placed at ready command the rich resources of his lumi- 
nous and discriminating mind, and of his extensive information, 
and rendered him the first of every assembly afterwards, of which 
he became a member. Never wandering from his subject into 
vain declamation, but pursuing it closely, in language pure, class- 
ical and copious, soothing always the feelings of his adversaries 
by civilities and softness of expression, he rose to the eminent 
station which he held in the great National Convention of 1787 ; 
and in that of Virginia which followed, he sustained the new 
constitution in all its parts, bearing off the palm against the logic 
of George Mason, and the fervid declamation of Mr. Henry. 
With these consummate powers, were united a pure and spotless 
virtue which no calumny has ever attempted to sully. Of the 
powers and polish of his pen, and of the wisdom of his adminis- 
tration in the highest office of the nation, I need say nothing. 
They have spoken, and will forever speak for themselves. 

[* See Appendix, note A.] 


So far we were proceeding in the details of reformation only ; 
selecting points of legislation, prominent in character and princi- 
ple, urgent, and indicative of the strength of the general pulse of 
reformation. When I left Congress, in '76, it was in the per- 
suasion that our whole code must be reviewed, adapted to our re- 
publican form of government ; and, now that we had no negatives 
of Councils, Governors, and Kings to restrain us from doing right, 
that it should be corrected, in all its parts, with a single eye to 
reason, and the good of those for whose government it was 
framed. Early, therefore, in the session of '76, to which I re- 
turned, I moved and presented a bill for the revision of the laws, 
which was passed on the 24th of October ; and on the 5th of No- 
vember, Mr. Pendleton, Mr. Wythe, George Mason, Thomas L. 
Lee, and myself, were appointed a committee to execute the work. 
We agreed to meet at Fredericksburg to settle the plan of opera- 
tion, and to distribute the work. We met there accordingly, on 
the 13th of January, 1777. The first question was, whether we 
should propose to abolish the whole existing system of laws, and 
prepare a new and complete Institute, or preserve the general sys- 
tem, and only modify it to the present state of things. Mr. Pen- 
dleton, contrary to his usual disposition in favor of ancient things, 
was for the former proposition, in which he was joined by Mr. 
Lee. To this it was objected, that to abrogate our whole system 
would be a bold measure, and probably far beyond the views of 
the legislature ; that they had been in the practice of revising, 
from time to time, the laws of the colony, omitting the expired, 
the repealed, and the obsolete, amending only those retained, and 
probably meant we should now do the same, only including the 
British statutes as well as our own : that to compose a new In- 
stitute, like those of Justinian and Bracton, or that of Blackstone, 
which was the model proposed by Mr. Pendleton, would be an 
arduous undertaking, of vast research, of great consideration and 
judgment ; and when reduced to a text, every word of that text, 
from the imperfection of human language, and its incompetence 
to express distinctly every shade of idea, would become a subject 
of question and chicanery, until settled by repeated adjudications j 


<uid this would involve us for ages in litigation and render prop- 
erty uncertain, until, like the statutes of old, eve ry word had been 
tried and settled by numerous decisions, and by new volumes of 
reports and commentaries ; and that no one of us, probably, would 
undertake such a work, wlrch to be systematical, must be the 
work of one hand. This last was the opinion of Mr. Wythe, 
Mr. Mason, and myself. When we proceeded to the distribution 
of the work, Mr. Mason excused himself, as, being no lawyer, he 
felt himself unqualified for the work, and he resigned soon after. 
Mr. Lee excused himself on the same ground, and died, indeed, in 
a short time. The other two gentlemen, therefore, and myself 
divided the work among us. The common law and statutes to 
the 4 James I. (when our separate legislature was established) 
were assigned to me ; the British statutes, from that period to the 
present day, to Mr. Wythe ; and the Virginia laws to Mr. Pen- 
dleton. As the law of Descents, and the criminal law fell of 
course within my portion, I wished the committee to settle the 
leading principles of these, as a guide for me in framing them ; 
and, with respect to the first, I proposed to abolish the law of pri- 
mogeniture, and to make real estate descendible in parcenary to 
the next of kin, as personal property is, by the statute of distribu- 
tion. Mr. Pendleton wished to preserve the right of primogeni- 
ture, but seeing at once that that could not prevail, he proposed 
we should adopt the Hebrew principle, and give a double portion 
to the elder son. I observed, that if the eldest son could eat twice 
as much, or do double work, it might be a natural evidence of his 
right to a double portion ; but being on a par in his powers and 
wants, with his brothers and sisters, he should be on a par also in 
the partition of the patrimony ; and such was the decision of the 
other members. 

On the subject of the Criminal law, all were agreed, that the 
punishment of death should be abolished, except for treason and 
murder ; and that, for other felonies, should be substituted hard 
labor in the public works, and in some cases, the Lex talionis. 
How this last revolting principle came to obtain our approbation 
I do not remember. There remained, indeed, in our laws, a ves- 


tige of it in a single case of a slave ; it was the English law, in 
the time of the Anglo-Saxons, copied probably from the Hebrew 
law of " an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," and it was the 
law of several ancient people ; but the modern mind had left it 
far in the rear of its advances. These points, however, being 
settled, we repaired to our respective homes for the preparation of 
the work. 

In the execution of my part, I thought it material not to vary 
the diction of the ancient statutes by modernizing it, nor to give 
rise to new questions by new expressions. The text of these 
statutes had been so fully explained and denned, by numerous 
adjudications, as scarcely ever now to produce a question in our 
courts. I thought it would be useful, also, in all new draughts, 
to reform the style of the later British statutes, and of our own 
acts of Assembly ; which, from their verbosity, their endless tau- 
tologies, their involutions of case within case, and parenthesis 
within parenthesis, and their multiplied efforts at certainty, by 
saids and aforesaids, by ors and by ands, to make them more 
plain, are really rendered more perplexed and incomprehensible, 
not only to common readers, but to the lawyers themselves. We 
were employed in this work from that time to February, 1779, 
when we met at Williamsburg, that is to say, Mr. Pendleton, Mr. 
Wythe and myself ; and meeting day by day, we examined critic- 
ally our several parts, sentence by sentence, scrutinizing and 
amending, until we had agreed on the whole. We then returned 
home, had fair copies made of our several parts, which were re- 
ported to the General Assembly, June 18, 1779, by Mr. Wythe 
and myself, Mr. Pendleton's residence being distant, and he hav- 
ing authorized us by letter to declare his approbation. We had, 
in this work, brought so much of the Common law as it was 
thought necessary to alter, all the British statutes from Magna 
Charta to the present day, and all the laws of Virginia, from the 
establishment of our legislature, in the 4th Jac. 1. to the present 
time, which we thought should be retained, within the compass 
of one hundred and twenty-six bills, making a printed folio of 
ninety pages only. Some bills were taken out, occasionally, from 


time to time, and passed ; but the main body of the work was 
not entered on by the legislature until after the general peace, in 
1785, when, by the unwearied exertions of Mr. Madison, in op- 
position to the endless quibbles, chicaneries, perversions, vexa- 
tions and delays of lawyers and demi-lawyers, most of the bills 
were passed by the legislature, with little alteration. 

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of 
which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn 
in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposi- 
tion ; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally 
passed ; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of 
opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares, 
that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of 
our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word 
" Jesus Christ," so that it should read, " a departure from the plan 
of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion ;" the insertion 
was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to 
comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the 
Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel 
of every denomination. 

Beccaria, and other writers on crimes and punishments, had 
satisfied the reasonable world of the unrightfulness and ineffi- 
cacy of the punishment of crimes by death ; and hard labor on 
roads, canals and other public works, had been suggested as a 
proper substitute. The Revisers had adopted these opinions ; but 
the general idea of our country had not yet advanced to that 
point. The bill, therefore, for proportioning crimes and punish- 
ments, was lost in the House of Delegates by a majority of a sin- 
gle vote. I learned afterwards, that the substitute of hard labor 
in public, was tried (I believe it was in Pennsylvania) without 
success. Exhibited as a public spectacle, with shaved heads and 
mean clothing, working on the high roads, produced in the crimi- 
nals such a prostration of character, such an abandonment of self- 
respect, as, instead of reforming, plunged them into the most des- 
perate and hardened depravity of morals and character. To 
pursue the subject of this law. I was written to in 1785 (being 


then in Paris) by directors appointed to superintend the building 
of a Capitol in Richmond, to advise them as to a plan, and to add 
to it one of a Prison. Thinking it a favorable opportunity of in- 
troducing into the State an example of architecture, in the classic 
style of antiquity, and the Maison quarree of Nismes, an ancient 
Roman temple, being considered as the most perfect model exist- 
ing of what may be called Cubic architecture, I applied to M. 
Clerissault, who had published drawings of the Antiquities of 
Nismes, to have me a model of the building made in stucco, only 
changing the order from Corinthian to Ionic, on account of the 
difficulty of the Corinthian capitals. I yielded, with reluctance, 
to the taste of Clerissault, in his preference of the modern capital 
of Scamozzi to the more noble capital of antiquity. This was 
executed by the artist whom Choiseul Gouffier had carried with 
him to Constantinople, and employed, while Ambassador there, 
in making those beautiful models of the remains of Grecian archi- 
tecture which are to be seen at Paris. To adapt the exterior to 
our use, I drew a plan for the interior, with the apartments neces- 
sary for legislative, executive, and judiciary purposes ; and accom- 
modated in their size and distribution to the form and dimensions 
of the building. These were forwarded to the Directors, in 1786, 
and were carried into execution, with some variations, not for the 
better, the most important of which, however, admit of future 
correction. With respect to the plan of a Prison, requested at the 
same time, I had heard of a benevolent society, in England, 
which had been indulged by the government, in an experiment 
of the effect of labor, in solitary confinement, on some of their 
criminals ; which experiment had succeeded beyond expectation. 
The same idea had been suggested in France, and an Architect 
of Lyons had proposed a plan of a well-contrived edifice, on the 
principle of solitary confinement. I procured a copy, and as it 
was too large for our purposes, I drew one on a scale less exten- 
sive, but susceptible of additions as they should be wanting. 
This I sent to the Directors, instead of a plan of a common 
prison, in the hope that it would suggest the idea of labor in soli- 
tary confinement, instead of that on the public works, which we 


had adopted in our Revised Code. Its principle, accordingly, but 
not its exact form, was adopted by Latrobe in carrying the plan 
into execution, by the erection of what is now called the Peniten- 
tiary, built under his direction. In the meanwhile, the public 
opinion was ripening, by time, by reflection, and by the example 
of Pennsylvania, where labor on the highways had been tried, 
without approbation, from 1786 to '89, and had been followed by 
their Penitentiary system on the principle of confinement and 
labor, which was proceeding auspiciously. In 1796, our legisla- 
ture resumed the subject, and passed the law for amending the 
Penal laws of the commonwealth. They adopted solitary, in- 
stead of public, labor, established a gradation in the duration of 
the confinement, approximated the style of the law more to the 
modern usage, and, instead of the settled distinctions of murder 
and manslaughter, preserved in my bill, they introduced the new 
terms of murder in the first and second degree. Whether these 
have produced more or fewer questions of definition, I am not 
sufficiently informed of our judiciary transactions to say. I will 
here, however, insert the text of my bill, with the notes I made 
in the course of my researches into the subject.* 

The acts of Assembly concerning the College of William and 
Mary, were properly within Mr. Pendleton's portion of our work ; 
but these related chiefly to its revenue, while its constitution, or- 
ganization and scope of science, were derived from its charter. 
We thought that on this subject, a systematical plan of general 
education should be proposed, and I was requested to undertake 
it. I accordingly prepared three bills for the Revisal, proposing 
three distinct grades of education, reaching all classes. 1st. Ele- 
mentary schools, for all children generally, rich and poor. 
2d. Colleges, for a middle degree of instruction, calculated for 
the common purposes of life, and such as would be desirable for 
all who were in easy circumstances. And, 3d, an ultimate grade 
for teaching the sciences generally, and in their highest degre*. 
The first bill proposed to lay off every county into Hundreds, or 
Wards, of a proper size and population for a school, in which 

[* See Appendix, note E.] 


reading, writing, and common arithmetic should be taught , and 
that the whole State should be divided into twenty-four districts, 
in each of which should be a school for classical learning, gram- 
mar, geography, and the higher branches of numerical arithmetic. 
The second bill proposed to amend the constitution of William 
and Mary college, to enlarge its sphere of science, and to make it 
in fact a University. The third was for the establishment of a 
library. These bills were not acted on until the same year, '96, 
and then only so much of the first as provided for elementary 
schools. The College of William and Mary was an establish- 
ment purely of the Church of England ; the Visitors were re- 
quired to be all of that Church ; the Professors to subscribe its 
thirty-nine Articles ; its Students to learn its Catechism ; and one 
of its fundamental objects was declared to be, to raise up Minis- 
ters for that church. The religious jealousies, therefore, of all 
the dissenters, took alarm lest this might give an ascendancy to 
the Anglican sect, and refused acting on that bill. Its local ec- 
centricity, too, and unhealthy autumnal climate, lessened the gen- 
eral inclination towards it. And in the Elementary bill, they in- 
serted a provision which completely defeated it ; for they left it 
to the court of each county to determine for itself, when this act 
should be carried into execution, within their county. One pro- 
vision of the bill was, that the expenses of these schools should 
be borne by the inhabitants of the county, every one in propor- 
tion to his general tax rate. This would throw on wealth the 
education of the poor ; and the justices, being generally of the 
more wealthy class, were unwilling to incur that burden, and I 
believe it was not suffered to commence in a single county. I 
shall recur again to this subject, towards the close of my story, if 
I should have life and resolution enough to reach that term ; for 
I am already tired of talking about myself. 

The bill on the subject of slaves, was a mere digest of the ex- 
isting laws respecting them, without any intimation of a plan for 
a future and general emancipation. It was thought better that 
this should be kept back, and attempted only by way of amend- 
ment, whenever the bill should be brought on. The principles 


of the amendment, however, were agreed on, that is to say, the 
freedom of all born after a certain day, and deportation at a proper 
age. But it was found that the public mind would not yet bear 
the proposition, nor will it bear it even at this day. Yet the 
day is not distant when it must bear and adopt it, or worse will 
follow. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate, 
than that these people are to be free ; nor is it less certain that 
the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. 
Nature, habit, opinion have drawn indelible lines of distinction 
between them. It is still in our power to direct the process of 
emancipation and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degree, 
as that the evil will wear off insensibly, and their place be, pari 
passu, filled up by free white laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left 
to force itself on, human nature must shudder at the prospect held 
up. We should in vain look for an example in the Spanish de- 
portation or deletion of the Moors. This precedent would fall 
far short of our case. 

I considered four of these bills, passed or reported, as forming 
a system by which every fibre would be eradicated of ancient or 
future aristocracy ; and a foundation laid for a government truly 
republican. The repeal of the laws of entail would prevent the 
accumulation and perpetuation of wealth, in select families, and 
preserve the soil of the country from being daily more and more 
absorbed in mortmain. The abolition of primogeniture, and 
equal partition of inheritances, removed the feudal and unnatural 
distinctions which made one member of every family rich, and 
all the rest poor, substituting equal partition, the best of all Agra- 
rian laws. The restoration of the rights of conscience relieved 
the people from taxation for the support of a religion not theirs j 
for the establishment was truly of the religion of the rich, the 
dissenting sects being entirely composed of the less wealthy peo- 
ple ; and these, by the bill for a general education, would be 
qualified to understand their rights, to maintain them, and to ex- 
ercise with intelligence their parts in self-government ; and all 
this would be effected, without the violation of a single natural 
right of any one individual citizen. To these, too, might be add- 

VOL. i. 4 


ed, as a further security, the introduction of the trial by jury, 
into the Chancery courts, which have already ingulfed, and 
continue to ingulf, so great a proportion of the jurisdiction over 
our property. 

On the 1st of June, 1779, I was appointed Governor of the 
Commonwealth, and retired from the legislature. Being elected, 
also, one of the Visitors of William and Mary college, a self- 
electing body, I effected, during my residence in Williamsburg 
that year, a change in the organization of that institution, by 
abolishing the Grammar school, and the two professorships of 
Divinity and Oriental languages, and substituting a professorship 
of Law and Police, one of Anatomy, Medicine and Chemistry, 
and one of Modern languages ; and the charter confining us to 
six professorships, we added the Law of Nature and Nations, and 
the Fine Arts to the duties of the Moral professor, and Natural 
History to those of the professor of Mathematics and Natural 

Being now, as it were, identified with the Commonwealth it- 
self, to write my own history, during the two years of my ad- 
ministration, would be to write the public history of that portion 
of the revolution within this State. This has been done by 
others, and particularly by Mr. Girardin, who wrote his Continua- 
tion of Burke's History of Virginia, while at Milton, in this 
neighborhood, had free access to all my papers while composing 
it, and has given as faithful an account as I could myself. For 
this portion, therefore, of my own life, I refer altogether to his 
history. From a belief that, under the pressure of the invasion 
under which we were then laboring, the public would have more 
confidence in a Military chief, and that the Military commander, 
being invested with the Civil power also, both might be wielded 
with more energy, promptitude and effect for the defence of the 
State, I resigned the administration at the end of my second year, 
and General Nelson was appointed to succeed me. 

Soon after my leaving Congress, in September, '76, to wit, on 
the last day of that month, I had been appointed, with Dr. Frank- 
lin, to go to France, as a Commissioner, to negotiate treaties of 


alliance and commerce with that government. Silas Deane, then 
in France, acting as* agent for procuring military stores, was 
joined with us in commission. But such was the state of my 
family that I could not leave it, nor could I expose it to the dan- 
gers of the sea, and of capture by the British ships, then cover- 
ing the ocean. I saw, too, that the laboring oar was really at 
home, where much was to be done, of the most permanent in- 
terest, in new modelling our governments, and much to defend 
our fanes and fire-sides from the desolations of an invading enemy, 
pressing on our country in every point. I declined, therefore, 
and Dr. Lee was appointed in my place. On the 15th of June, 
1781, I had been appointed, with Mr. Adams, Dr. Franklin, Mr. 
Jay, and Mr. Laurens, a Minister Plenipotentiary for negotiating 
peace, then expected to be effected through the mediation of the 
Empress of Russia. The same reasons obliged me still to de- 
cline ; and the negotiation was in fact never entered on. But, 
in the autumn of the next year, 1782, Congress receiving assur- 
ances that a general peace would be concluded in the winter and 
spring, they renewed my appointment on the 13th of November 
of that year. I had, two months before that, lost the cherished 
companion of my life, in whose affections, unabated on both 
sides, I had lived the last ten years in unchequered happiness. 
With the public interests, the state of my mind concurred in re- 
commending the change of scene proposed ; and I accepted the 
appointment, and left Monticello on the 19th of December, 1782, 
for Philadelphia, where I arrived on the 27th. The Minister of 
France, Luzerne, offered me a passage in the Romulus frigate, 
which I accepting ; but she was then lying a few miles below 
Baltimore, blocked up in the ice. I remained, therefore, a month 
in Philadelphia, looking over the papers in the office of State, in 
order to possess myself of the general state of our foreign rela- 
tions, and then went to Baltimore, to await the liberation of the 

* His ostensible character was to be that of a merchant, his real one that of agent 
for military supplies, and also for sounding the dispositions of the government of 
France, and seeing how far they would favor us, either secretly or openly. His ap- 
pointment had been by the Committee of foreign correspondence, March, 1776. 


frigate from the ice. After waiting there nearly a month, we re- 
ceived information that a Provisional treaty ot peace had been 
signed by our Commissioners on the 3d of September, 1782, to 
become absolute, on the conclusion of peace between France and 
Great Britain. Considering my proceeding to Europe as now of 
no utility to the public, I returned immediately to Philadelphia, to 
take the orders of Congress, and was excused by them from fur- 
ther proceeding. I, therefore, returned home, where I arrived on 
the 15th of May, 1783. 

On the 6th of the following month, I was appointed by the 
legislature a delegate to Congress, the appointment to take place 
on the 1st of November ensuing, when that of the existing dele- 
gation would expire. I, accordingly, left home on the 16th of Oc- 
tober, arrived at Trenton, where Congress was sitting, on the 3d 
of November, and took my seat on the 4th, on which day Con- 
gress adjourned, to meet at Annapolis on the 26th. 

Congress had now become a very small body, and the mem- 
bers very remiss in their attendance on its duties, insomuch, that 
a majority of the States, necessary by the Confederation to con- 
stitute a House even for minor business, did not assemble until 
the 13th of December. 

They, as early as January 7, 1782, had turned their attention to 
the moneys current in the several States, and had directed the Fi- 
nancier, Robert Morris, to report to them a table of rates, at which 
the foreign coins should be received at the treasury. That officer, 
or rather his assistant, Gouverneur Morris, answered them on the 
15th, in an able and elaborate statement of the denominations of 
money current in the several States, and of the comparative value of 
the foreign coins chiefly in circulation with us. He went into the 
consideration of the necessity of establishing a standard of value 
with us, and of the adoption of a money Unit. He proposed for 
that Uni';, such a fraction of pure silver as would be a common 
measure of the penny of every State, without leaving a fraction. 
This common divisor he found to be 1-1440 of a dollar, or 
1-1600 of the crown sterling. The value of a dollar was, 
therefore, to be expressed by 1,440 units, and of a crown by 


1,600 ; each Unit containing a quarter of a grain of fine silver. 
Congress turning again their attention to this subject the follow- 
ing year, the Financier, by a letter of April 30, 1783, further ex- 
plained and urged the Unit he had proposed ; but nothing more 
was done on it until the ensuing year, when it was again taken 
up, and referred to a committee, of which I was a member. The 
general views of the Financier were sound, and the principle was 
ingenious on which he proposed to found his Unit ; but it was 
too minute for ordinary use, too laborious for computation, either 
by the head or in figures. The price of a loaf of bread, 1-20 of 
a dollar, would be 72 units. 

A pound of butter, 1-5 of a dollar, 288 units. 

A horse or bullock, of eighty dollars value, would require a no- 
tation of six figures, to wit, 115,200, and the public debt, suppose 
of eighty millions, would require twelve figures, to wit, 115,200,- 
000,000 units. Such a system of money-arithmetic would be 
entirely unmanageable for the common purposes of society. I 
proposed, therefore, instead of this, to adopt the Dollar as our Unit 
of account and payment, and that its divisions and sub-divisions 
should be in the decimal ratio. I wrote some Notes on the sub 
ject, which I submitted to the consideration of the Financier. I 
received his answer and adherence to his general system, only 
agreeing to take for his Unit one hundred of those he first pro- 
posed, so that a Dollar should be 14 40-100, and a crown 16 
units. I replied to this, and printed my notes and reply on a 
flying sheet, which I put into the hands of the members of Con- 
gress for consideration, and the Committee agreed to report on my 
principle. This was adopted the ensuing year, and is the system 
which now prevails. I insert, here, the Notes and Reply, as 
showing the different views on which the adoption of our money 
system hung.* The divisions into dimes, cents, and mills is 
now so well understood, that it would be easy of introduction 
into the kindred branches of weights and measures. I use, when 
I travel, an Odometer of Clarke's invention, which divides the 
mile into cents, and I find every one comprehends a distance 

[* See Appendix, note F.] 


readily, when stated to him in miles and cents ; so he would in 
feet and cents, pounds and cents, &c. 

The remissness of Congress, and their permanent session, be- 
gan to be a subject of uneasiness ; and even some of the legisla- 
tures had recommended to them intermissions, and periodical 
sessions. As the Confederation had made no provision for a visi- 
ble head of the government, during vacations of Congress, and 
such a one was necessary to superintend the executive business, 
to receive and communicate with foreign ministers and nations, 
and to assemble Congress on sudden and extraordinary emergen- 
cies, I proposed, early in April, the appointment of a committee, 
to be called the " Committee of the States," to consist of a mem- 
ber from each State, who should remain in session during the 
recess of Congress : that the functions of Congress should be di- 
vided into executive and legislative, the latter to be reserved, and 
the former, by a general resolution, to be delegated to that Com- 
mittee. This proposition was afterwards agreed to ; a Committee 
appointed, who entered on duty on the subsequent adjournment 
of Congress, quarrelled very soon, split into two parties, aban- 
doned their post, and left the government without any visible 
head, until the next meeting in Congress. We have since seen 
the same thing take place in the Directory of France ; and I 
believe it will forever take place in any Executive consisting of 
a plurality. Our plan, best, I believe, combines wisdom and 
practicability, by providing a plurality of Counsellors, but a sin- 
gle Arbiter for ultimate decision. I was in France when we 
heard of this schism, and separation of our Committee, and, 
speaking with Dr. Franklin of this singular disposition of men to 
quarrel, and divide into parties, he gave his sentiments, as usual, 
by way of Apologue. He mentioned the Eddystone light- 
house, in the British channel, as being built on a rock, in the 
mid-channel, totally inaccessible in winter, from the boisterous 
character of that sea, in that season ; that, therefore, for the two 
keepers employed to keep up the lights, all provisions for the 
winter were necessarily carried to them in autumn, as they could 
never be visited again till the return of the milder season ; that, 


on the first practicable day in the spring, a boat put off to them 
with fresh supplies. The boatmen met at the door one of the 
keepers, and accosted him with a " How goes it, friend ? Very 
well. How is your companion ? I do not know. Don't know ? 
Is not he here ? I can't tell. Have not you seen him to-day ? 
No. When did you see him ? Not since last fall. You have 
killed him ? Not I, indeed." They were about to lay hold of 
him, as having certainly murdered his companion ; but he de- 
sired them to go up stairs and examine for themselves. They 
went up, and there found the other keeper. They had quarrel- 
led, it seems, soon after being left there, had divided into two 
parties, assigned the cares below to one, and those above to the 
other, and had never spoken to, or seen, one another since. 

But to return to our Congress at Annapolis. The definitive 
treaty of peace which had been signed at Paris on the 3d of 
September, 1783, and received here, could not be ratified without 
a House of nine States. On the 23d of December, therefore, we 
addressed letters to the several Governors, stating the receipt of 
the definitive treaty ; that seven States only were in attendance, 
while nine were necessary to its ratification ; and urging them to 
press on their delegates the necessity of their immediate attend- 
ance. And on the 26th, to save time, I moved that the Agent 
of Marine (Robert Morris) should be instructed to have ready a 
vessel at this place, at New York, and at some Eastern port, to 
carry over the ratification of the treaty when agreed to. It met 
the general sense of the House, but was opposed by Dr. Lee, on 
the ground of expense, which it would authorize the Agent to 
incur for us ; and, he said, it would be better to ratify at once, 
and send on the ratification. Some members had before sug- 
gested, that seven States were competent to the ratification. My 
motion was therefore postponed, and another brought forward by 
Mr. Read, of South Carolina, for an immediate ratification. This 
was debated the 26th and 27th. Reed, Lee, Williamson and 
Jeremiah Chase, urged that ratification was a mere matter of 
form, that the treaty was conclusive from the moment it was 
signed by the ministers; that, although the Confederation re- 


quires the assent of nine States to enter into a treaty, yet, that its 
conclusion could not be called entrance into it ; that supposing 
nine States requisite, it would be in the power of five States to 
keep us always at war ; that nine States had virtually authorized 
the ratification, having ratified the provisional treaty, and in- 
structed their ministers to agree to a definitive one in the same 
terms, and the present one was, in fact, substantially, and almost 
verbatim, the same ; that there now remain but sixty-seven days 
for the ratification, for its passage across the Atlantic, and its ex- 
change ; that there was no hope of our soon having nine States 
present ; in fact, that this was the ultimate point of time to which 
we could venture to wait ; that if the ratification was not in Paris 
by the time stipulated, the treaty would become void ; that if 
ratified by seven States, it would go under our seal, without its 
being known to Great Britain that only seven had concurred ; that 
it was a question of which they had no right to take cognizance, 
and we were only answerable for it to our constituents ; that it 
was like the ratification which Great Britain had received from 
the Dutch, by the negotiations of Sir William Temple. 

On the contrary, it was argued by Monroe, Gerry, Howel, 
Ellery and myself, that by the modern usage of Europe, the rati- 
fication was considered as the act which gave validity to a treaty, 
until which, it was not obligatory.* That the commission to the 
ministers reserved the ratification to Congress ; that the treaty it- 
self stipulated that it should be ratified ; that it became a second 
question, who were competent to the ratification ? That the Con- 
federation expressly required nine States to enter into any treaty ; 
that, by this, that instrument must have intended, that the assent 
of nine States should be necessary, as well to the completion as 
to the commencement of the treaty, its object having been to 
guard the rights of the Union in all those important cases where 
nine States are called for ; that by the contrary construction, 
seven States, containing less than one-third of our whole citizens, 
might rivet on us a treaty, commenced indeed under commission 
and instructions from nine States, but formed by the minister in 

* Vattel L. 2, 156. L. 4, 77. 1. Mably Droit D'Europe, 86. 


express contradiction to such instructions, and in direct sacrifice 
of the interests of so great a majority ; that the definitive treaty 
was admitted not to be a verbal copy of the provisional one, and 
whether the departures from it were of substance, or not, was a 
question on which nine States alone were competent to decide ; 
that the circumstances of the ratification of the provisional arti- 
cles by nine States, the instructions to our ministers to form a 
definitive one by them, and their actual agreement in substance, 
do not render us competent to ratify in the present instance ; if 
these circumstances are in themselves a ratification, nothing 
further is requisite than to give attested copies of them, in ex- 
change for the British ratification ; if they are not, we remain 
where we were, without a ratification by nine States, and incom- 
petent ourselves to ratify ; that it was but four days since the 
seven States, now present, unanimously concurred in a resolution, 
to be forwarded to the Governors of the absent States, in which 
they stated, as a cause for urging on their delegates, that nine 
States were necessary to ratify the treaty ; that in the case of the 
Dutch ratification, Great Britain had courted it, and therefore was 
glad to accept it as it was ; that they knew our Constitution, and 
would object to a ratification by seven ; that, if that circumstance 
was kept back, it would be known hereafter, and would give 
them ground to deny the validity of a ratification, into which 
they should have been surprised and cheated, and it would be a 
dishonorable prostitution of our seal ; that there is a hope of nine 
States ; that if the treaty would become null, if not ratified in 
time, it would not be saved by an imperfect ratification ; but that, 
in fact, it would not be null, and would be placed on better 
ground, going in unexceptionable form, though a few days too 
late, and rested on the small importance of this circumstance, and 
the physical impossibilities which had prevented a punctual com- 
pliance in point of time ; that this would be approved by all na- 
tions, and by Great Britain herself, if not determined to renew 
tne war, and if so determined, she would never want excuses^ 
were this out of the way. Mr. Read gave notice, he should call 
for the yeas and nays ; whereon those in opposition, prepared a 


resolution, expressing pointedly the reasons of their dissent from 
his motion. It appearing, however, that his proposition could 
not he carried, it was thought hetter to make no entry at all. 
Massachusetts alone would have heen for it ; Rhode Island, 
Pennsylvania and Virginia against it, Delaware, Maryland and 
North Carolina, would have heen divided. 

Our body was little numerous, but very contentious. Day 
after day was wasted on the most unimportant questions. A mem- 
ber, one of those afflicted with the morbid rage of debate, of an 
ardent mind, prompt imagination, and copious flow of words, who 
heard with impatience any logic which was not his own, sitting 
near me on some occasion of a trifling but wordy debate, asked 
me how I could sit in silence, hearing so much false reasoning, 
which a word should refute ? I observed to him, that to refute 
indeed was easy, but to silence was impossible ; that in measures 
brought forward by myself, I took the laboring oar, as was in- 
cumbent on me ; but that in general, I was willing to listen ; that 
if every sound argument or objection was used by some one or 
other of the numerous debaters, it was enough ; if not, I thought 
it sufficient to suggest the omission, without going into a repeti- 
tion of what had been already said by others : that this was a 
waste and abuse of the time and patience of the House, which 
could not be justified. And I believe, that if the members of de- 
liberate bodies were to observe this course generally, they would 
do in a day, what takes them a week ; and it is really more ques- 
tionable, than may at first be thought, whether Bonaparte's dumb 
legislature, which said nothing, and did much, may not be prefer- 
able to one which talks much, and does nothing. I served with 
General Washington in the legislature of Virginia, before the 
revolution, and, during it, with Dr. Franklin in Congress. I never 
heard either of them speak ten minutes at a time, nor to any but 
the main point, which was to decide the question. They laid 
their shoulders to the great points, knowing that the little ones 
would follow of themselves. If the present Congress errs in too 
much talking, how can it be otherwise, in a body to which the 
people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to 


question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour ? That 
one hundred and fifty lawyers should do business together, ought 
ncl to be expected. But to return again to our subject. 

Those who thought seven States competent to the ratification, 
being very restless under the loss of their motion, I proposed, on 
the third of January, to meet them on middle ground, and there- 
fore moved a resolution, which premised, that there were but 
seven States present, who were unanimous for the ratification, but 
that they differed in opinion on the question of competency ; that 
those however in the negative were unwilling that any powers 
which it might be supposed they possessed, should remain unex- 
ercised for the restoration of peace, provided it could be done, 
saving their good faith, and without importing any opinion of 
Congress, that seven States were competent, and resolving that 
the treaty be ratified so far as they had power ; that it should be 
transmitted to our ministers, with instructions to keep it uncom- 
municated ; to endeavor to obtain three months longer for ex- 
change of ratifications; that they should be informed, that so 
soon as nine States shall be present, a ratification by nine shall 
be sent them : if this should get to them before the ultimate point 
of time for exchange, they were to use it, and not the other ; if 
not, they were to offer the act of the seven States in exchange, 
informing them the treaty had come to hand while Congress was 
not in session ; that but seven States were as yet assembled, and 
these had unanimously concurred in the ratification. This was 
debated on the third and fourth ; and on the fifth, a vessel being 
to sail for England, from this port (Annapolis), the House di- 
rected the President to write to our ministers accordingly. 

January 14. Delegates from Connecticut having attended yes- 
terday, and another from South Carolina coming in this day, the 
treaty was ratified without a dissenting voice ; and three instru- 
ments of ratification were ordered to be made out, one of which 
was sent by Colonel Harmer, another by Colonel Franks, and the 
third transmitted to the Agent of Marine, to be forwarded by any 
good opportunity. 

Congress soon took up the consideration of their foreign rela 


tions. They deemed it necessary to get their commerce placed 
with every nation, on a footing as favorable as that of other na- 
tions ; and for this purpose, to propose to each a distinct treaty 
of commerce. This act too would amount to an acknowledg- 
ment, hy each, of our independence, and of our reception into the 
fraternity of nations ; which, although as possessing our station 
of ris;ht, and in fact we would not condescend to ask, we were 

o / ' 

not unwilling to furnish opportunities for receiving their friendly 
salutations and welcome. With France, the United Netherlands, 
and Sweden, we had already treaties of commerce ; but commis- 
sions were given for those countries also, should any amendments 
be thought necessary. The other States to which treaties were 
to be proposed, were England, Hamburg, Saxony, Prussia, Den- 
mark, Russia, Austria, Venice, Rome, Naples, Tuscany, Sardinia, 
Genoa, Spain, Portugal, the Porte, Algiers, Tripoli, Tunis, and 

On the 7th of May Congress resolved that a Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary should be appointed, in addition to Mr. Adams and Dr. 
Franklin, for negotiating treaties of commerce with foreign na- 
tions, and I was elected to that duty. I accordingly left An- 
napolis on the llth, took with me my eldest daughter, then at 
Philadelphia (the two others being too young for the voyage), 
and proceeded to Boston, in quest of a passage. While passing 
through the different States, I made a point of informing myself 
of the state of the commerce of each ; went on to New Hamp- 
shire with the same view, and returned to Boston. Thence I 
sailed on the 5th of July, in the Ceres, a merchant ship of Mr. 
Nathaniel Tracey, bound to Cowes. He was himself a passen- 
ger, and, after a pleasant voyage of nineteen days, from land to 
land, we arrived at Cowes on the 26th. I was detained there a 
few days by the indisposition of my daughter. On the 30th, we 
embarked for Havre, arrived there on the 31st, left it on the 3d 
of August, and arrived at Paris on the 6th. I called immediately 
on Dr. Franklin, at Passy, communicated to him our charge, 
and we wrote to Mr. Adams, then at the Hague, to join us at 


Before I had left America, that is to say, in the year 1781, 1 
had received a letter from M. de Marbois, of the French legation 
in Philadelphia, informing me, he had been instructed by his gov- 
ernment to obtain such statistical accounts of the different States 
of our Union, as might be useful for their information ; and address- 
ing to me a number of queries relative to the State of Virginia. 
I had always made it a practice, whenever an opportunity occur- 
red of obtaining any information of our country, which might be 
of use to me in any station, public or private, to commit it to 
writing. These memoranda were on loose papers, bundled up 
without order, and difficult of recurrence, when I had occasion x~ 
for a particular one. I thought this a good occasion to embody / 
their substance, which I did in the order of Mr. Marbois' queries, 
so as to answer his wish, and to arrange them for my own use. 
Some friends, to whom they were occasionally communicated, 
wished for copies ; but their volume rendering this too laborious 
by hand, I proposed to get a few printed, for their gratification. 
I was asked such a price, however, as exceeded the importance 
of the object. On my arrival at Paris, I found it could be done 
for a fourth of what I had been asked here. I therefore cor- 
rected and enlarged them, and had two hundred copies printed, 
under the title of " Notes on Virginia." I gave a very few copies 
to some particular friends in Europe, and sent the rest to my 
friends in America. An European copy, by the death of the 
owner, got into the hands of a bookseller, who engaged its trans- 
lation, and when ready for the press, communicated his intentions 
and manuscript to me, suggesting that I should correct it, with- 
out asking any other permission for the publication. I never had 
seen so wretched an attempt at translation. Interverted, abridged, 
mutilated, and often reversing the sense of the original, I found 
it a blotch of errors, from beginning to end. I corrected some of 
the most material, and, in that form, it was printed in French. 
A London bookseller, on seeing the translation, requested me to 
permit him to print the English original. I thought it best to do 
so, to let the world see that it was not really so bad as the French 


translation had made it appear. And this is the true history of 
that publication. 

Mr. Adams soon joined us at Paris, and our first employment 
was to prepare a general form, to be proposed to such nations as 
were disposed to treat with us. During the negotiations for peace 
with the British Commissioner, David Hartley, our Commissioners 
had proposed, on the suggestion of Dr. Frankin, to insert an arti- 
cle, exempting from capture by the public or private armed ships, 
of either belligerent, when at war, all merchant vessels and their 
cargoes, employed merely in carrying on the commerce between 
nations. It was refused by England, and unwisely, in my opinion. 
For, in the case of a war with us, their superior commerce places 
infinitely more at hazard on the ocean, than ours ; and, as hawks 
abound in proportion to game, so our privateers would swarm, in 
proportion to the wealth exposed to their prize, while theirs would 
be few, for want of subjects of capture. We inserted this article 
in our form, with a provision against the molestation of fishermen, 
husbandmen, citizens unarmed, and following their occupations in 
unfortified places, for the humane treatment of prisoners of war, 
the abolition of contraband of war, which exposes merchant ves- 
sels to such vexatious and ruinous detentions and abuses ; and for 
the principle of free bottoms, free goods. 

In a conference with the Count de Vergennes, it was thought 
better to leave to legislative regulation, on both sides, such modi- 
fications of our commercial intercourse, as would voluntarily flow 
from amicable dispositions. Without urging, we sounded the 
ministers of the several European nations, at the court of Ver- 
sailles, on their dispositions towards mutual commerce, and the 
expediency of encouraging it by the protection of a treaty. Old 
Frederic, of Prussia, met us cordially, and without hesitation, and 
appointing the Baron de Thulemeyer, his minister at the Hague, 
to negotiate with us, we communicated to him our Projct, which, 
with little alteration by the King, was soon concluded. Den- 
mark and Tuscany, entered also into negotiations with us. Other 
powers appearing indifferent ; we did not think it proper to press 
them. They seemed, in fact, to know little about us, but as 


rebels, who had been successful in throwing oft* the yoke of the 
mother country. They were ignorant of our commerce, which 
had been always monopolized by England, and of the exchange 
of articles it might offer advantageously to both parties. They 
were inclined, therefore, to stand aloof, until they could see bet- 
ter what relations might be usefully instituted with us. The 
negotiations, therefore, begun with Denmark and Tuscany, we 
protracted designedly, until our powers had expired ; and ab- 
stained from making new propositions to others having no colo- 
nies;, because our commerce being an exchange of raw for 
wrought materials, is a competent price for admission into the 
colonies of those possessing them ; but were we to give it, with- 
out price, to others, all would claim it, without price, on the or- 
dinary ground of gentis amicissimce. 

Mr. Adams being appointed Minister Plenipotentiary of the 
United States, to London, left us in June, and in July, 1785, Dr. 
Franklin returned to America, and I was appointed his successor 
at Paris. In February, 1786, Mr. Adams wrote to me, pressingly, 
to join him in London immediately, as he thought he discovered 
there some symptoms of better disposition towards us. Colonel 
Smith, his secretary of legation, was the bearer of his urgencies 
for my immediate attendance. I, accordingly, left Paris on the 
1st of March, and, on my arrival in London, we agreed on a very 
summary form of treaty, proposing an exchange of citizenship for 
our citizens, our ships, and our productions generally, except as to 
office. On my presentation, as usual, to the King and Queen, at 
their levees, it was impossible for anything to be more ungracious, 
than their notice of Mr. Adams and myself. I saw, at once, that 
the ulcerations of mind in that quarter, left nothing to be expected 
on the subject of my attendance ; and, on the first conference 
with the Marquis of Caermarthen, the Minister for foreign affairs, 
the distance and disinclination which he betrayed in his conver- 
sation, the vagueness and evasions of his answers to us, con- 
firmed me in the belief of their aversion to have anything to do 
with us. We delivered him, however, our Proj^t, Mr. Adams not 
despairing as much as I did, of its effect. We afterwards, by one 


or more notes, requested his appointment of an interview and 
conference, which, without directly declining, he evaded, by pre- 
tences of other pressing occupations for the moment. After 
staying there seven weeks, till within a few days of the expira- 
tion of our commission, I informed the minister, "by note, that 
my duties at Paris required my return to that place, and that I 
should, with pleasure, be the bearer of any commands to his Am- 
bassador there. He answered, that he had none, and, wishing 
me a pleasant journey, I left London the 26th, and arrived at 
Paris the 30th of April. 

While in London, we entered into negotiations with the Chev- 
alier Pinto, Ambassador of Portugal, at that place. The only ar- 
ticle of difficulty between us was, a stipulation that our bread 
stuff should be received in Portugal^ in the form of flour as well 
as of grain. He approved of it himself, but observed that several 
Nobles, of great influence at their court, were the owners of 
wind-mills in the neighborhood of Lisbon, which depended much 
for their profits on manufacturing our wheat, and that this stipu- 
lation would endanger the whole treaty. He signed it, however, 
and its fate was what he had candidly portended. 

My duties, at Paris, were confined to a few objects ; the re- 
ceipt of our whale-oils, salted fish, and salted meats, on favorable 
terms ; the admission of our rice on equal terms with that of 
Piedmont, Egypt and the Levant ; a mitigation of the monopolies 
of our tobacco by the Farmers-general, and a free admission of 
our productions into their islands, were the principal commercial 
objects which required attention ; and, on these occasions, I was 
powerfully aided by all the influence and the energies of the 
Marquis de La Fayette, who proved himself equally zealous for 
the friendship and welfare of both nations ; and, in justice, 1 
must also say, that I found the government entirely disposed to 
befriend us on all occasions, and to yield us every indulgence, 
not absolutely injurious to themselves. The Count de Vergennes 
had the reputation, with the diplomatic corps, of being wary and 
slippery in his diplomatic intercourse ; and so he might be with 
those whom he knew to be slippery, and double-faced themselves. 


As he saw that I had no indirect views, practised no subtleties, 
meddled in no intrigues, pursued no concealed object, I found 
him as frank, as honorable, as easy of access to reason, as any 
man with whom I had ever done business ; and I must say the 
same for his successor, Montmorin, one of the most honest and 
worthy of human beings. 

Our commerce, in the Mediterranean, was placed under early 
alarm, by the capture of two of our vessels and crews by the 
Barbary cruisers. I was very unwilling that we should acquiesce 
in the European humiliation, of paying a tribute to those lawless 
pirates, and endeavored to form an association of the powers sub- 
ject to habitual depredations from them. I accordingly prepared, 
and proposed to their Ministers at Paris, for consultation with 
their governments, articles of a special confederation, in the fol- 
lowing form : 

" Proposals for concerted operation among the powers at war 
with the piratical States of Barbary. 

1. " It is proposed, that the several powers at war with the 
piratical States of Barbary, or any two or more of them who shall 
be willing, shall enter into a convention to carry on their opera- 
tions against those States, in concert, beginning with the Al- 

2. " This convention shall remain open to any other powers, 
who shall, at any future time, wish to accede to it ; the parties 
reserving the right to prescribe the conditions of such accession, 
according to the circumstances existing at the time it shall be 

3. " The object of the convention shall be, to compel th 
piratical States to perpetual peace, without price, and to guarantee 
that peace to each other. 

4. " The operations for obtaining this peace shall be constant 
cruises on their coast, with a naval force now to be agreed on. 
It is not proposed that this force shall be so considerable as to 
be inconvenient to any party. It is believed that half a dozen 
frigates, with as many Tenders or Xebecs, one half of which 
shall be in cruise, while the other half is at rest, will suffice. 

VOL. i. 5 


5. " The force agreed to be necessary, shall be furnished by the 
parties, in certain quotas, now to be fixed ; it being expected, that 
each will be willing to contribute, in such proportion as circum- 
stances may render reasonable. 

6. " As miscarriages often proceed from the want of harmony 
among officers of different nations, the parties shall now consider 
and decide, whether it will not be better to contribute their quotas 
in money, to be employed in fitting out and keeping on duty, a 
single fleet of the force agreed on. 

7. " The difficulties and delays, too, which will attend the 
management of these operations, if conducted by the parties 
themselves separately, distant as their courts may be from one an- 
other, and incapable of meeting in consultation, suggest a ques- 
tion, whether it will not be better for them to give full powers, 
for that purpose, to their Ambassadors, or other Ministers resident 
at some one court of Europe, who shall form a Committee, or 
Council, for carrying this convention into effect ; wherein, the 
vote of each member shall be computed in proportion to the quota 
of his sovereign, and the majority so computed, shall prevail in 
all questions within the view of this convention. The court of 
Versailles is proposed, on account of its neighborhood to the Medi- 
terranean, and because all those powers are represented there, who 
are likely to become parties to this convention. 

8. " To save to that Council the embarrassment of personal 
solicitations for office, and to assure the parties that their contribu- 
tions will be applied solely to the object for which they are des- 
tined, there shall be no establishment of officers for the said 
Council, such as Commissioners, Secretaries, or any other kind, 
with either salaries or perquisites, nor any other lucrative appoint- 
ments but such whose functions are to be exercised on board the 
said vessels. 

9. " Should war arise between any two of the parties to this 
convention, it shall not extend to this enterprise, nor interrupt it; 
but as to this they shall be reputed at peace. 

10. " When Algiers shall be reduced to peace, the other pirati- 
cal States, u* they refuse to discontinue their piracies, shall be- 


come the objects of this convention, either successively or to- 
gether, as shall seem best. 

11. "Where this convention would interfere with treaties ac- 
tually existing between any of the parties and the States of Bar- 
bary, the treaty shall prevail, and such party shall be allowed to 
withdraw from the operations against that State." 

Spain had just concluded a treaty with Algiers, at the expense 
of three millions of dollars, and did not like to relinquish the 
benefit of that, until the other party should fail in their observ- 
ance of it. Portugal, Naples, the two Sicilies, Venice, Malta, 
Denmark and Sweden, were favorably disposed to such an asso- 
ciation ; but their representatives at Paris expressed apprehensions 
that France would interfere, and, either openly or secretly, sup- 
port the Barbary powers ; and they required, that I should ascer- 
tain the dispositions of the Count de Vergennes on the subject. 
I had before taken occasion to inform him of what we were pro- 
posing, and, therefore, did not think it proper to insinuate any 
doubt of the fair conduct of his government; but, stating our 
propositions, I mentioned the apprehensions entertained by us, 
that England would interfere in behalf of those piratical govern- 
ments. " She dares not do it," said he. I pressed it no further. 
The other Agents were satisfied with this indication of his senti- 
ments, and nothing was now wanting to bring it into direct and 
formal consideration, but the assent of our government, and their 
authority to make the formal proposition. I communicated to them 
the favorable prospect of protecting our commerce from the Barbary 
depredations, and for such a continuance of time, as, by an exclu- 
sion of them from the sea, to change their habits and characters, 
from a predatory to an agricultural people : towards which, how- 
ever, it was expected they would contribute a frigate, and its 
expenses, to be in constant cruise. But they were in no condition 
to make any such engagement. Their recommendatory powers 
for obtaining contributions, were so openly neglected by the 
several States, that they declined an engagement which they 
were conscious they could not fulfil with punctuality ; and so it 
fell through. 


*In 1786, while at Paris, I became acquainted with John Led- 
yard, of Connecticut, a man of genius, of some science, and of 
fearless courage and enterprise. He had accompanied Captain 
Cook in his voyage to the Pacific, had distinguished himself on 
several occasions by an unrivalled intrepidity, and published an 
account of that voyage, with details unfavorable to Cook's de- 
portment towards the savages, and lessening our regrets at his 
fate. Ledyard had come to Paris, in the hope of forming a com- 
pany to engage in the fur trade of the Western coast of America. 
He was disappointed in this, and, being out of business, and of a 
roaming, restless character, I suggested to him the enterprise of 
exploring the Western part of our continent, by passing through 
St. Petersburg to Kamschatka, and procuring a passage thence 
in some of the Russian vessels to Nootka Sound, whence he might 
make his way across the continent to the United States ; and I 
undertook to have the permission of the Empress of Russia so- 
licited. He eagerly embraced the proposition, and M. de Scmou- 
lin, the Russian Ambassador, and more particularly Baron Grimm, 
the special correspondent of the Empress, solicited her permission 
for him to pass through her dominions, to the Western coast of 
America. And here I must correct a material error, which I have 
committed in another place, to the prejudice of the Empress. In 
writing some notes of the life of Captain Lewis, prefixed to his 
" Expedition to the Pacific," I stated that the Empress gave the 
permission asked, and afterwards retracted it. This idea, after a 
lapse of twenty-six years, had so insinuated itself into my mind, 
that I committed it to paper, without the least suspicion of error. 
Yet I find, on recurring to my letters of that date, that the Em- 
press refused permission at once, considering the enterprise as 
entirely chimerical. But Ledyard would not relinquish it, per- 
suading himself that, by proceeding to St. Petersburg, he could 
satisfy the Empress of its practicability, and obtain her permis- 
sion. He went accordingly, but she was absent on a visit to some 

[* In the original MS., the paragraph ending "fell through," terminates page 81 
between this page and the next, there is stitched in, a leaf of old writing, constituting 
a memorandum, whereof note G. in the Appendix, is a copy.] 


distant part of her dominions,* and he pursued his course to within 
two hundred miles of Kamschatka, where he was overtaken by 
an arrest from the Empress, brought back to Poland, and there 
dismissed. I must therefore, in justice, acquit the Empress of 
ever having for a moment countenanced, even by the indulgence 
of an innocent passage through her territories, this interesting en- 

The pecuniary distresses of France produced this year a 
measure of which there had been no example for near two cen- 
turies, and the consequences of which, good and evil, are not yet 
calculable. For its remote causes, we must go a little back. 

Celebrated writers of France and England had already / 
sketched good principles on the subject of government ; yet the 
American Revolution seems first to have awakened the thinking 
part of the French nation in general, from the sleep of despotism 
in which they were sunk. The officers too, who had been to 
America, were mostly young men, less shackled by habit and 
prejudice, and more ready to assent to the suggestions of common 
sense, and feeling of common rights, than others. They came 
back with new ideas and impressions. The press, notwithstand- 
ing its shackles, began to disseminate them ; conversation as- 
sumed new freedoms ; Politics became the theme of all societies, ' 
male and female, and a very extensive and zealous party was 
formed, which acquired the appellation of the Patriotic party, 
who, sensible of the abusive government under which they lived, 
sighed for occasions of reforming it. This party comprehended 
all the honesty of the kingdom, sufficiently at leisure to think, 
the men of letters, the easy Bourgeois, the young nobility, partly 
from reflection, partly from mode ; for these sentiments became 
matter of mode, and as such, united most of the young women 
to the party. Happily for the nation, it happened, at the same 
moment, that the dissipations of the Queen and court, the abuses 
of the pension-list, and dilapidations in the administration of every 
branch of the finances, had exhausted the treasures and credit of 
the nation, insomuch that its most necessary functions were par- 

* The Crimea. 


alyzed. To reform these abuses would have overset the Minis- 
ter ; to impose new taxes by the authority of the King, was 
known to be impossible, from the determined opposition of the 
Parliament to their enregistry. No resource remained then, but 
to appeal to the nation. He advised, therefore, the call of an As- 
sembly of the most distinguished characters of the nation, in the 
hope that, by promises of various and valuable improvements in 
the organization and regimen of the government, they would be 
induced to authorize new taxes, to control the opposition of the 
Parliament, and to raise the annual revenue to the level of ex- 
penditures. An Assembly of Notables therefore, about one hun- 
dred and fifty in number, named by the King, convened on the 
22d of February. The Minister (Calonne) stated to them, that 
the annual excess of expenses beyond the revenue, when Louis 
XVI. came to the throne, was thirty-seven millions of livres ; 
that four hundred and forty millions had been borrowed to re-es- 
tablish the navy ; that the American war had cost them fourteen 
hundred and forty millions (two hundred and fifty-six millions of 
dollars), and that the interest of these sums, with other increased 
expenses, had added forty millions more to the annual deficit. 
(But a subsequent and more candid estimate made it fifty-six 
millions.) He proffered them an universal redress of grievances, 
laid open those grievances fully, pointed out sound remedies, and, 
covering his canvas with objects of this magnitude, the deficit 
dwindled to a little accessory, scarcely attracting attention. The 
persons chosen were the most able and independent characters 
in the kingdom, and their support, if it could be obtained, would 
be enough for him. They improved the occasion for redressing 
their grievances, and agreed that the public wants should be re- 
lieved ; but went into an examination of the causes of them. It 
was supposed that Colonne was conscious that his accounts could 
not bear examination ; and it was said, and believed, that he 
asked of the King, to send four members to the Bastile, of whom 
the Marquis de La Fayette was one, to banish twenty others, and 
two of his Ministers. The King found it shorter to banish him. 
His successor went on in full concert with the Assembly. The 


result was an augmentation of the revenue, a promise of econo- 
mies in its expenditure, of an annual settlement of the public ac- 
counts before a council, which the Comptroller, having been 
heretofore obliged to settle only with the King in person, of course 
never settled at all ; an acknowledgment that the King could not 
lay a new tax, a reformation of the Criminal laws, abolition of 
torture, suppression of corvees, reformation of the gabelles, re- 
moval of the interior Custom Houses, free commerce of grain, 
internal and external, and the establishment of Provincial Assem- 
blies; which, altogether, constituted a great mass of improve- 
ment in the condition of the nation. The establishment of the 
Provincial Assemblies was, in itself, a fundamental improvement. 
They would be of the choice of the people, one-third renewed 
every year, in those provinces where there are no States, that is 
to say, over about three-fourths of the kingdom. They would 
be partly an Executive themselves, and partly an Executive Coun- 
cil to the Intendant, to whom the Executive power, in his province, 
had been heretofore entirely delegated. Chosen by the people, 
they would soften the execution of hard laws, and, having a right 
of representation to the King, they would censure bad laws, sug- 
gest good ones, expose abuses, and their representations, when 
united, would command respect. To the other advantages, might 
be added the precedent itself of calling the Assemblce des Nota- 
bles, which would perhaps grow into habit. The hope was, that 
the improvements thus promised would be carried into effect; 
that they would be maintained during the present reign, and that 
that would be long enough for them to take some root in the con- 
stitution, so that they might come to be considered as a part of that, 
and be protected by time, and the attachment of the nation. 

The Count de Vergennes had died a few days before the meet- 
ing of the Assembly, and the Count de Montmorin had been 
named Minister of Foreign Affairs, in his place. Villedeuil suc- 
ceeded Calonne, as Comptroller General, and Lomenie de Bry- 
enne, Archbishop of Thoulouse, afterwards of Sens, and ulti- 
mately Cardinal Lomenie, was named Minister principal, with 
whom the other Ministers were to transact the business of their 


departments, heretofore done with the King in person ; and the 
Duke de Nivemois, and M. de Malesherbes, were called to the 
Council. On the nomination of the Minister principal, the Mar- 
shals de Segur and de Castries retired from the departments of 
War and Marine, unwilling to act subordinately, or to share the 
blame of proceedings taken out of their direction. They were 
succeeded by the Count de Brienne, brother of the Prime Minis- 
ter, and the Marquis de La Luzerne, brother to him who had been 
Minister in the United States. 

A dislocated wrist, unsuccessfully set, occasioned advice from 
my surgeon, to try the mineral waters of Aix, in Provence, as a 
corroborant. I left Paris for that place therefore, on the 28th of 
February, and proceeded up the Seine, through Champagne and 
Burgundy, and down the Rhone through the Beaujolais by Lyons, 
Avignon, Nismes to Aix ; where, finding on trial no benefit from 
the waters, I concluded to visit the rice country of Piedmont, to 
see if anything might be learned there, to benefit the rivalship 
of our Carolina rice with that, and thence to make a tour of the 
seaport towns of France, along its Southern and Western coast, 
to inform myself, if anything could be done to favor our com- 
merce with them. From Aix, therefore, I took my route by Mar- 
seilles, Toulon, Hieres, Nice, across the Col de Tende, by Coni, 
Turin, Vercelli, Novara, Milan, Pavia, Novi, Genoa. Thence, 
returning along the coast of Savona, Noli, Albenga, Oneglia, 
Monaco, Nice, Antibes, Frejus, Aix, Marseilles, Avignon, Nismes, 
Montpellier, Frontignan, Cette, Agde, and along the canal of 
Languedoc, by Bezieres, Narbonne, Cascassonne, Castelnaudari, 
through the Souterrain of St. Feriol, and back by Castelnaudari, 
to Toulouse ; thence to Montauban, and down the Garonne by 
Langon to Bordeaux. Thence to Rochefort, la Rochelle, Nantes, 
L'Orient ; then back by Rennes to Nantes, and up the Loire by 
Angers, Tours, Amboise, Blois to Orleans, thence direct to Paris, 
where I arrived on the 10th of June. Soon after my return from 
this journey, to wit, about the latter part of July, I received my 
younger daughter, Maria, from Virginia, by the way of London, 
the youngest having died some time before. 


The treasonable perfidy of the Prince of Orange, Stadtholder 
wad Captain General of the United Netherlands, in the war which 
England waged against them, for entering into a treaty of com- 
merce with the United States, is known to all. As their Execu- 
tive officer, charged with the conduct of the war, he contrived to 
baffle all the measures of the States General, to dislocate all their 
military plans, and played false into the hands of England against 
his own country, on every possible occasion, confident in her pro- 
tection, and in that of the King of Pnissia, brother to his Princess. 
The States General, indignant at this patricidal conduct, applied 
to France for aid, according to the stipulations of the treaty con- 
cluded with her in '85. It was assured to them readily, and in 
cordial terms, in a letter from the Count de Vergennes, to the 
Marquis de Verac, Ambassador of France at the Hague, of which 
the following is an extract : 

" Extrait de la deptche de Monsieur le Comte de Vergennes a 
Monsieur le Marquis de Verac, Ambassadeur de France a la Haye, 
du ler Mars, 1786. 

" Le Roi concourrera, autant, qu' il sera en son pouvoir, au suc- 
ces de la chose, et vous inviterez, de sa part, les patriotes de lui 
commuriiquer leurs vues, leurs plans, et leurs envieux. Vous les 
assurerez, que le roi prend un interet veritable a, leurs personnes 
comme a leur cause, it qu' ils peuvent compter sur sa protection- 
Us doiventy compter d' autant plus, Monsieur, que nous ne dissim- 
ulons pas, que si Monsieur le Stadhoulder reprend son ancienne 
influence, le systeme Anglois ne tardera pas de prevaloir, et que 
notre alliance deviendroit un ctre de raison. Les Patriotes sen- 
tiront facilement, que cette position seroit incompatible avec la 
dignite, comme avec la consideration de sa majeste. Mais dans 
le cas, Monsieur, ou les chefs des Patriotes auroient a, craindre 
une scission, ils auroient le temps suffisant pour ramener ceux de 
leurs amis, que les Anglomanes ont egares, et preparer les choses, 
de maniere que la question de nouveau mise en deliberation, soit 
decidee selon leurs desirs. Dans cette hypothese, le roi vous 
autorise a agir de concert avec eux, de suivre la direction qu' 
JLS jugeront devoir vous donner, et d' employer tons les moyens 


pour augmenter le nombre des partisans de la bonne cause. II 
me reste, Monsieur, de vous parler de la surete personelle des 
Patriotes. Vous les assurerez, que dans tout etat de cause, le roi 
les prend sous sa protection immediate, et vous ferez connoitre, 
partout ou vous le jugerez necessaire, que sa Majeste regarderoit 
comme une offense personnelle, tout ce qu' on entreprenderoit 
contre leur liberte. II est a, presumer que ce langage, tenu avec 
energie, en imposera a 1'audace des Anglomanes, et que Monsieur 
le Prince de Nassau croira courir quelque risque en provoquant le 
ressentiment de sa Majeste."* 

This letter was communicated by the Patriots to me, when at 
Amsterdam, in 1788, and a copy sent by me to Mr. Jay, in my 
letter to him of March 16, 1788. 

The object of the Patriots was, to establish a representative and 
republican government. The majority of the States General 
were with them, but the majority of the populace of the towns 
was with the Prince of Orange ; and that populace was playea 

[* Extract from the despatch of the Count de Vergennes, to the Marquis de Verac, 
Ambassador from France, at the Hague, dated March 1, 1786 : 

"The King will give his aid, as far as may be in his power, towards the success of 
the affair, and will, on his part, invite the Patriots to communicate to him their views, 
their plans, and their discontents. You may assure them that the King takes a real 
interest in themselves as well as their cause, and that they may rely upon his protec- 
tion. On this they may place the greater dependence, as we do not conceal, that if 
the Stadtholder resumes his former influence, the English System will soon prevail, 
and our alliance become a mere affair of the imagination. The Patriots will readilv 
feel, that this position would be incompatible both with the dignity and considera- 
tion of his Majesty. But in case the Chief of the Patriots should have to fear a di- 
vision, they would have time sufficient to reclaim those whom the Anglomaniacs had 
misled, and to prepare matters iu such a manner, that the question when again agi- 
tated, might be decided according to their wishes. In such a hypothetical case, the 
King authorizes you to act in concert with them, to pursue the direction which they 
may think proper to give you, and to employ every means to augment the number 
of the partisans of the good cause. It remains for me to speak of the persomd se- 
curity of the Patriots. You may assure them, that under every circumstance, the 
King will take them under his immediate protection, and you will make known 
wherever you may judge necessary, that his Majesty will regard as a personal offence 
every undertaking against their liberty. It is to be presumed that this language, 
energetically maintained, may have some effect on the audacity of the Anglomauiac?, 
and that the Prince de Nassau will feel that he runs some risk in provoking the 
resentment of his Majesty."] 


off with great effect, by the triumvirate of * * * Harris, the Eng- 
lish Ambassador, afterwards Lord Malmesbury, the Prince of 
Orange, a stupid man, and the Princess as much a man as either 
of her colleagues, in audaciousness, in enterprise, and in the thirst 
of domination. By these, the mobs of the Hague were excited 
against the members of the States General ; their persons were 
insulted and endangered in the streets ; the sanctuary of their 
houses was violated ; and the Prince, whose function and, duty it 
was to repress and punish these violations of order, took no steps 
for that purpose. The States General, for their own protection, 
were therefore obliged to place their militia under the command 
of a Committee. The Prince filled the courts of London and 
Berlin with complaints at this usurpation of his prerogatives, and, 
forgetting that he was but the first servant of a Republic, 
marched his regular troops against the city of Utrecht, where the 
States were in session. They were repulsed by the militia. His 
interests now became marshalled with those of the public enemy, 
and against his own country. The States, therefore, exercising 
their rights of sovereignty, deprived him of all his powers. The 
great Frederic had died in August, '86. He had never intended 
to break with France in support of the Prince of Orange. Dur- 
ing the illness of which he died, he had, through the Duke of 
Brunswick, declared to the Marquis de La Fayette, who was then 
at Berlin, that he meant not to support the English interest in 
Holland : that he might assure the government of France, his 
only wish was, that some honorable place in the Constitution 
should be reserved for the Stadtholder and his children, and that 
he would take no part in the quarrel, unless an entire abolition 
of the Stadtholderate should be attempted. But his place was 
now occupied by Frederic William, his great nephew, a man of 
little understanding, much caprice, and very inconsiderate ; and 
the Princess, his sister, although her husband was in arms against 
the legitimate authorities of the country, attempting to go to 
Amsterdam, for the purpose of exciting the mobs of that place, 
and being refused permission to pass a military post on the way, 
he put the Duke of Brunswick at the head of twenty thousand 


men, and made demonstrations of marching on Holland. The 
King of France hereupon declared, by his Charge des Affaires in 
Holland, that if the Prussian troops continued to menace Holland 
with an invasion, his Majesty, in quality of Ally, was determined 
to succor that province. In answer to this, Eden gave official in- 
formation to Count Montmorin, that England must consider as at 
an end its convention with France relative to giving notice of its 
naval armaments, and that she was arming generally. War be- 
ing now imminent, Eden, since Lord Aukland, questioned me on 
the effect of our treaty with France, in the case of a war, and 
what might be our dispositions. I told him frankly, and without 
hesitation, that our dispositions would be neutral, and that I 
thought it would be the interest of both these powers that we 
should be so ; because, it would relieve both from all anxiety as 
to feeding their West India islands ; that England, too, by suf- 
fering us to remain so, would avoid a heavy land war on our Con- 
tinent, which might very much cripple her proceedings else- 
where ; that our treaty, indeed, obliged us to receive into our 
ports the armed vessels of France, with their prizes, and to refuse 
admission to the prizes made on her by her enemies : that there 
was a clause, also, by which we guaranteed to France her Ameri- 
can possessions, which might perhaps force us into the war, if 
these were attacked. " Then it will be war," said he, " for they 
will assuredly be attacked." Listen, at Madrid, about the same 
time, made the same inquiries of Carmichael. The Government 
of France then declared a determination to form a camp of ob- 
servation at Givet, commenced arming her marine, and named 
the Bailli de Suffrein their Generalissimo on the Ocean. She 
secretly engaged, also, in negotiations with Russia, Austria, and 
Spain, to form a quadruple alliance. The Duke of Brunswick 
having advanced to the confines of Holland, sent some of his 
officers to Givet, to reconnoitre the state of things there, and re- 
port them to him. He said afterwards, that " if there had been 
only a few tents at that place, he should not have advanced far- 
ther, for that the King would not, merely for the interest of his 
sister, engage in a war with France." But, finding that there 


was not a single company there, he boldly entered the country, 
took their towns as fast as he presented himself before them, and 
advanced on Utrecht. The States had appointed the Rhingrave 
of Salm their Commander-in-Chief ; a Prince without talents, 
without courage, and without principle. He might have held 
out in Utrecht for a considerable time, but he surrendered the 
place without firing a gun, literally ran away and hid himself, so 
that for months it was not known what had become of him. 
Amsterdam was then attacked, and capitulated. In the mean- 
time, the negotiations for the quadruple alliance were proceeding 
favorably ; but the secrecy with which they were attempted to 
be conducted, was penetrated by Fraser, Charge des Affaires of 
England at St. Petersburg, who instantly notified his court, and 
gave the alarm to Prussia. The King saw at once what Avould 
be his situation, between the jaws of France, Austria, and Rus- 
sia. In great dismay, he besought the court of London not to 
abandon him, sent Alvensleben to Paris to explain and soothe ; 
and England, through the Duke of Dorset and Eden, renewed 
her conferences for accommodation. The Archbishop, who shud- 
dered at the idea of war, and preferred a peaceful surrender of 
right to an armed vindication of it, received them with open 
arms, entered into cordial conferences, and a declaration, and 
counter-declaration, were cooked up at Versailles, and sent to 
London for approbation. They were approved there, reached 
Paris at one o'clock of the 27th, and were signed that night at 
Versailles. It was said and believed at Paris, that M. de Mont- 
morin, literally " pleuroit comme un enfant," when obliged to 
sign this counter-declaration ; so distressed was he by the dishon- 
or of sacrificing the Patriots, after assurances so solemn of pro- 
tection, and absolute encouragement to proceed. The Prince of 
Orange was reinstated in all his powers, now become regal. A 
great emigration of the Patriots took place ; all were deprived of 
office, many exiled, and their property confiscated. They were 
received in France, and subsisted, for some time, on her bounty . 
Thus fell Holland, by the treachery of her Chief, from her hon- 
orable independence, to become a province of England ; and so, 


also, her Stadth older, from the high station of the first citizen of 
a free Republic, to be the servile Viceroy of a foreign Sovereign. 
And this was effected by a mere scene of bullying and demon- 
stration ; not one of the parties, France, England, or Prussia, 
having ever really meant to encounter actual war for the interest 
of the Prince of Orange. But it had all the effect of a real and 
decisive war. 

Our first essay, in America, to establish a federative govern- 
ment had fallen, on trial, very short of its object. During the 
war of Independence, while the pressure of an external enemy 
hooped us together, and their enterprises kept us necessarily on 
the alert, the spirit of the people, excited by danger, was a sup- 
plement to the Confederation, and urged them to zealous exer- 
tions, whether claimed by that instrument or not ; but, when 
peace and safety were restored, and every man became engaged 
in useful and profitable occupation, less attention was paid to the 
calls of Congress. The fundamental defect of the Confederation 
was, that Congress was not authorized to act immediately on the 
people, and by its own officers. Their power was only requisi- 
tory, and these requisitions were addressed to the several Legisla- 
tures, to be by them carried into execution, without other coer- 
cion than the moral principle of duty. This allowed, in fact, a 
negative to every Legislature, on every measure proposed by 
Congress ; a negative so frequently exercised in practice, as to 
benumb the action of the Federal government, and to render it 
inefficient in its general objects, and more especially in pecuniary 
and foreign concerns. The want, too, of a separation of the 
Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary functions, worked disad- 
vantageously in practice. Yet this state of things afforded a 
happy augury of the future march of our Confederacy, when it 
was seen that the good sense and good dispositions of the people, 
as soon as they perceived the incompetence of their first compact, 
instead of leaving its correction to insurrection and civil war, 
agreed, with one voice, to elect deputies to a general Convention, 
who should peaceably meet and agree on such a Constitution as 


" would ensure peace, justice, liberty, the common defence and 
general welfare*" 

(JPhis Convention met at Philadelphia on the 25th of May, '87. 
It sat with closed doors, and kept all its proceedings secret, until 
its dissolution on the 17th of September, when the results of its 
labors were published all together. I received a copy, early 
in November, and read and contemplated its provisions with great 
satisfaction. As not a member of the Convention, however, nor 
probably a single citizen of the Union, had approved it in all its 
parts, so I, too, found articles which I thought objectionable. 
The absence of express declarations ensuring freedom of reli- 
gion, freedom of the press, freedom of the person under the un- 
interrupted protection of the Habeas corpus, and trial by jury in 
Civil as well as in Criminal cases, excited my jealousy ; and the 
re-eligibility of the President for life, I quite disapproved. I ex- 
pressed freely, in letters to my friends, and most particularly to 
Mr. Madison and General Washington, my approbations and ob- 
jections. How the good should be secured and the ill brought 
to rights, was the difficulty. | To refer it back to a new Conven- 
tion might endanger the loss of the whole. My first idea was, 
that the nine States first acting, should accept it unconditionally, 
and thus secure what in it was good, and that the four last should 
accept on the previous condition, that certain amendments should 
be agreed to ; but a better course was devised, of accepting the 
whole, and trusting that the good sense and honest intentions of 
our citizens, would make the alterations which should be deemed 
necessary. Accordingly, all accepted, six without objection, and 
seven with recommendations of specified amendments. Those 
respecting the press, religion, and juries, with several others, of 
great value, were accordingly made ; but the Habeas corpus was 
left to the discretion of Congress, and the amendment against 
the re-eligibility of the President was not proposed. My fears 
of that feature were founded on the importance of the office, on 
the fierce contentions it might excite among ourselves, if contin- 
uable for life, and the dangers of interference, either with money 
or arms, by foreign nations, to whom the choice of an American 


President might become interesting. Examples of this abounded 
in history ; in the case of the Roman Emperors, for instance ; of 
the Popes, while of any significance ; of the German Emperors ; 
the Kings of Poland, and the Deys of Barbary. I had observed, 
too, in the feudal history, and in the recent instance, particularly, 
of the Stadtholder of Holland, how easily offices, or tenures for 
life, slide into inheritances. My wish, therefore, was, that the 
President should be elected for seven years, and be ineligible 
afterwards. This term I thought sufficient to enable him, with 
the concurrence of the Legislature, to carry through and estab- 
lish any system of improvement he should propose for the gene- 
ral good. But the practice adopted, I think, is better, allowing 
his continuance for eight years, with a liability to be dropped at 
half way of the term, mal^ng that a period of probation. That 
his continuance should be restrained to seven years, was the 
opinion of the Convention at an earlier stage of its session, when 
it voted that term, by a majority of eight against two, and by a 
simple majority that he should be ineligible a second time. This 
opinion was confirmed by the House so late as July 26, referred 
to the Committee of detail, reported favorably by them, and 
changed to the present form by final vote, on the last day but 
one only of their session. Of this change, three States expressed 
their disapprobation ; New York, by recommending an amend- 
ment, that the President should riot be eligible a third time, and 
Virginia and North Carolina that he should not be capable of 
serving more than eight, in any term of sixteen years ; and 
though this amendment has not been made in form, yet practice 
seems to have established it. The example of four Presidents 
voluntarily retiring at the end of their eighth year, and the pro- 
gress of public opinion, that the principle is salutary, have given 
it in practice the force of precedent and usage ; insomuch, that, 
should a President consent to be a candidate for a third election, 
I trust he would be rejected, on this demonstration of ambitious 

But there was another amendment, of which none of us thought 
at the time, and in the omission of which, lurks the germ that is 


to destroy this happy combination of National powers in the 
General government, for matters of National concern, and inde- 
pendent powers in the States, for what concerns the States seve- 
rally. In England, it was a great point gained at the Revolution, 
that the commissions of the Judges, which had hitherto been 
during pleasure, should thenceforth be made during good beha- 
vior. A Judiciary, dependent on the will of the King, had 
proved itself the most oppressive of all tools, in the hands of 
that Magistrate. Nothing, then, could be more salutary, than a 
change there, to the tenure of good behavior ; and the question 
of good behavior, left to the vote of a simple majority in the two 
Houses of Parliament. Before the Revolution, we were all good 
English Whigs, cordial in their free principles, and in their jeal- 
ousies of their Executive Magistrate. These jealousies are very 
apparent, in all our state Constitutions ; and, in the General gov- 
ernment in this instance, we have gone even beyond the Eng- 
lish caution, by requiring a vote of two-thirds, in one of the 
Houses, for removing a Judge ; a vote so impossible, where* any 
defence is made, before men of ordinary prejudices and passions, 
that our Judges are effectually independent of the nation. But 
this ought not to be. I would not, indeed, make them depend- 
ent on the Executive authority, as they formerly were in Eng- 
land ; but I deem it indispensable to the continuance of this gov- 
ernment, that they should be submitted to some practical and im- 
partial control ; and that this, to be imparted, must be compound- 
ed of a mixture of State and Federal authorities. It is not 
enough that honest men are appointed Judges. All know the 
influence of interest on the mind of man, and how unconsciously 
his judgment is warped by that influence. To this bias add that 
of the esprit de corps, of their peculiar maxim and creed, that 
" it is the office of a good Judge to enlarge his jurisdiction," and 
the absence of responsibility ; and how can we expect impartial 
decision between the General government, of which they are 

* Iu the impeachment of Judge Pickering, of New Hampshire, a habitual and 
maniac drunkard, no defence was made. Had there been, the party Tote of more 
than one-third of the Senate would have acquitted him. 

VOL. I. 6 


themselves so eminent a part, and an individual State, from which 
they have nothing to hope or fear ? We have seen, too, that 
contrary to all correct example, they are in the hahit of going 
out of the question before them, to throw an anchor ahead, and 
grapple further hold for future advances of power. They are 
then, in fact, the corps of sappers and miners, steadily working 
to undermine the independent rights of the States, and to con- 
solidate all power in the hands of that government in which 
they have so important a freehold estate. But it is not by the 
consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribu- 
tion, that good government is effected. Were not this great 
country already divided into States, that division must be made, 
that each might do for itself what concerns itself directly, and 
what it can so much better do than a distant authority. Every 
State again is divided into counties, each to take care of what 
lies within its local bounds ; each county again into townships 
or wards, to manage minuter details ; and every ward into farms, 
to be governed each by its individual proprietor. Were we di- 
rected from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we 
should soon want bread. It is by this partition of cares, descend- 
ing in gradation from general to particular, that the mass of hu- 
man affairs may be best managed, for the good and prosperity of 
all. I repeat, that I do not charge the Judges with wilful and ill- 
intentioned error ; but honest error must be arrested, where its 
toleration leads to public ruin. As, for the safety of society, we 
commit honest maniacs to Bedlam, so judges should be with- 
drawn from their bench, whose erroneous biases are leading us 
to dissolution. It may, indeed, injure them in fame or in for- 
tune ; but it saves the Republic, which is the first and supreme 

Among the debilities of the government of the Confederation, 
no one was more distinguished or more distressing, than the utter 
impossibility of obtaining, from the States, the moneys necessary 
for the payment of debts, or even for the ordinary expenses of the 
government. Some contributed a little, some less, and some 
nothing ; and the last furnished at length an excuse for the first 


to do nothing also. Mr. Adams, while residing at the Hague, 
had a general authority to borrow what sums might be requisite, 
for ordinary and necessary expenses. Interest on the public debt, 
and the maintenance of the diplomatic establishment in Europe, 
had been habitually provided in this way. He was now elected 
Vice-President of the United States, was soon to return to Ame- 
rica, and had referred our bankers to me for future counsel, on 
our affairs in their hands. But I had no powers, no instructions, 
no means, and no familiarity with the subject. It had always 
been exclusively under his management, except as to occasional 
and partial deposits in the hands of Mr. Grand, banker in Paris, 
for special and local purposes. These last had been exhausted 
for some time, and I had fervently pressed the Treasury board to 
replenish this particular deposit, as Mr. Grand now refused to 
make further advances. They answered candidly, that no funds 
could be obtained until the new government should get into action, 
and have time to make its arrangements. Mr. Adams had re- 
ceived his appointment to the court of London, while engaged at 
Paris, with Dr. Franklin and myself, in the negotiations under our 
joint commissions. He had repaired thence to London, without 
returning to the Hague, to take leave of that government. He 
thought it necessary, however, to do so now, before he should 
leave Europe, and accordingly went there. I learned his depar- 
ture from London, by a letter from Mrs. Adams, received on the 
very day on which he would arrive at the Hague. A consulta- 
tion with him, and some provision for the future, was indispen- 
sable, while we could yet avail ourselves of his powers ; for when 
they would be gone, we should be without resource. I was 
daily dunned by a Company who had formerly made a small 
loan to the United States, the principal of which was now become 
due ; and our bankers in Amsterdam, had notified me that the 
interest on our general debt would be expected in June; that if 
we failed to pay it, it would be deemed an act of bankruptcy, and 
would effectually destroy the credit of the United States, and all 
future prospect of obtaining money there ; that the loan they had 
been, authorized to open, of which a third only was filled, had 


now ceased to get forward, and rendered desperate that hope of 
resource. I saw that there was not a moment to lose, and set out 
for the Hague on the second morning after receiving the informa- 
tion of Mr. Adams's journey. I went the direct road by Louvres, 
Senlis, Roye, Pont St. Maxence, Bois le due, Gournay, Peronne, 
Cambray, Bouchain, Valenciennes, Mons, Bruxelles, Malines, Ant- 
werp, Mordick, and Rotterdam, to the Hague, where I happily 
found Mr. Adams. He concurred with me at once in opinion, 
that something must be done, and that we ought to risk ourselves 
on doing it without instructions, to save the credit of the United 
States. We foresaw, that before the new government could, be 
adopted, assembled, establish its financial system, get the money 
into the Treasury, and place it in Europe, considerable time would 
elapse ; that, therefore, we had better provide at once, for the 
years '88, '89, and '90, in order to place our government at its 
ease, and our credit in security, during that trying interval. We 
set out, therefore, by the way of Leyden, for Amsterdam, where 
we arrived on the 10th. I had prepared an estimate, showing 


There would be necessary for the year '88 531,937-10 


Total, 1,544,017-10 
To meet this, the bankers had in hand, 79,268-2-8 

and the unsold bonds would yield, 542,800 622,068-2-8 

Leaving a deficit of . . . . 921,949-7-4 

We proposed then to borrow a million, yielding 920,000 

Which would leave a small deficiency of . . 1 ,949-7-4 

Mr. Adams accordingly executed 1000 bonds, for 1000 florins 
each, and deposited them in the hands of our bankers, with in- 
structions, however, not to issue them until Congress should ratify 
the measure. This done, he returned to London, and I set out 
for Paris ; and, as nothing urgent forbade it, I determined to re- 


turn along the banks of the Rhine, to Strasburg, and thence strike 
off to Paris. I accordingly left Amsterdam on the 30th of March, 
and proceeded by Utrecht, Nimeguen, Cleves, Duysberg, Dus- 
seldorf, Cologne, Bonne, Coblentz, Nassau, Hocheim, Frankfort, 
and made an excursion to Hanau, thence to Mayence, and another 
excursion to Rudesheim, and Johansberg ; then by Oppenheim, 
Worms, and Manheim, making an excursion to Heidelberg, then 
by Spire, Carlsruh, Rastadt and Kelh, to Strasburg, where I ar- 
rived April the 16th, and proceeded again on the 18th, by Phals- 
bourg, Fenestrange, Dieuze, Moyenvie, Nancy, Toul, Ligny, 
Barleduc, St. Diziers, Vitry, Chalons sur Marne, Epernay, Cha- 
teau Thierri, Meaux, to Paris, where I arrived on the 23d of 
April ; and I had the satisfaction to reflect, that by this journey 
our credit was secured, the new government was placed at ease 
for two years to come, and that, as well as myself, relieved from 
Ihe torment of incessant duns, whose just complaints could not 
be silenced by any means within our power. 

A Consular Convention had been agreed on in '84, between Dr. 
Franklin and the French government, containing several articles, 
so entirely inconsistent with the laws of the several States, and 
the general spirit of our citizens, that Congress withheld their 
ratification, and sent it back to me, with instructions to get those 
articles expunged, or modified so as to render them compatible 
with our laws. The Minister unwillingly released us from these 
concessions, which, indeed, authorized the exercise of powers very 
offensive in a free State. After much discussion, the Convention 
was reformed in a considerable degree, and was signed by the 
Count Montmorin and myself, on the 14th of November, '88 ; 
not, indeed, such as I would have wished, but such as could be 
obtained with good humor and friendship. 

On my return from Holland, I found Paris as I had left it, still 
in high fermentation. Had the Archbishop, on the close of the 
Assembly of Notables, immediately carried into operation the 
measures contemplated, it was believed they would all have been 
registered by the Parliament; but he was slow, presented his 
edicts, one after another, and at considerable intervals, which 


gave time for the feelings excited by the proceedings of the 
Notables to cool off, new claims to be advanced, and a pressure 
to arise for a fixed constitution, not subject to changes at the will 
of the King. Nor should we wonder at this pressure, when we 
consider the monstrous abuses of power under which this people 
were ground to powder ; when we pass in review the weight of 
their taxes, and the inequality of their distribution ; the oppress- 
ions of the tithes, the tailles, the corvees, the gabelles, the farms 
and the barriers ; the shackles on commerce by monopolies ; on 
industry by guilds and corporations ; on the freedom of conscience, 
of thought, and of speech ; on the freedom of the press by the 
Censure ; and of the person by Lettres de Cachet ; the cruelty 
of the Criminal code generally ; the atrocities of the Rack ; the ve- 
nality of the Judges, and their partialities to the rich ; the monopoly 
of Military honors by the Noblesse ; the enormous expenses of 
the Queen, the Princes and the Court ; the prodigalities of pen- 
sions ; and the riches, luxury, indolence and immorality of the 
Clergy. Surely under such a mass of misrule and oppression, a 
people might justly press for a thorough reformation, and might 
even dismount their rough-shod riders, and leave them to walk on 
their own legs. The edicts, relative to the corvees and free cir- 
culation of grain, were first presented to the Parliament and re- 
gistered ; but those for the impCt territorial, and stamp tax, offered 
some time after, were refused by the Parliament, which proposed 
a call of the States General, as alone competent to their authoriza- 
tion. Their refusal-produced a Bed of justice, and their exile to 
Troyes. The Advocates, however, refusing to attend them, a 
suspension in the administration of justice took place. The 
Parliament held out for awhile, but the ennui of their exile and 
absence from Paris, began at length to be felt, and some disposi- 
tions for compromise to appear. On their consent, therefore, to 
prolong some of the former taxes, they were recalled from exile, 
the King met them in session, November 19, '87, promised to call 
the States General in the year '92, and a majority expressed 
their assent to register an edict for successive and annual loans 
from 1788 to '92; but a protest being entered by the Duke 


of Orleans, and this encouraging others in a disposition to 
retract, the King ordered peremptorily the registry of the 
edict, and left the assembly abruptly. The Parliament imme- 
diately protested, that the votes for the enregistry had not been 
legally taken, and that they gave no sanction to the loans pro- 
posed. This was enough to discredit and defeat them. Here- 
upon issued another edict, for the establishment of a cour pleniere, 
and the suspension of all the Parliaments in the kingdom. This 
being opposed, as might be expected, by reclamations from all 
the Parliaments and Provinces, the King gave way, and by an 
edict of July 5th, '88, renounced his cour pleniere, and promised 
the States General for the 1st of May, of the ensuing year ; and 
the Archbishop, finding the times beyond his faculties, accepted 
the promise of a Cardinal's hat, was removed [September '88] 
from the Ministry, and M. Necker was called to the department 
of finance. The innocent rejoicings of the people of Paris on 
this change provoked the interference of an officer of the city 
guards, whose order for their dispersion not being obeyed, he 
charged them with fixed bayonets, killed two or three, and wound- 
ed many. This dispersed them for the moment, but they col- 
lected the next day in great numbers, burnt ten or twelve guard- 
houses, killed two or three of the guards, and lost six or eight 
more of their own number. The city was hereupon put under 
Martial law, and after awhile the tumult subsided. The effect of 
this change of ministers, and the promise of the States General 
at an early day, tranquillized the nation. But two great questions 
now ocurrred. 1st. What proportion shall the number of depu- 
ties of the Tiers etat bear to those of the Nobles and Clergy ? 
And 2d, shall they sit in the same or in distinct apartments ? M. 
Necker, desirous of avoiding himself these knotty questions, pro- 
posed a second call of the same Notables, and that their advice 
should be asked on the subject. They met, November 9, '88 ; 
and, by five bureaux against one, they recommended the forms 
of the States General of 1614; wherein the Houses were sepa- 
rate, and voted by orders, not by persons. But the whole nation 
declaring at once against this, and that the Tiers etat should be, 


in numbers, equal to both the other orders, and the Parliament 
deciding for the same proportion, it was determined so to be, by 
a declaration of December 27th, '88. A Report of M. Necker, 
to the King, of about the same date, contained other very import- 
ant concessions. 1. That the King could neither lay a new tax", 
nor prolong an old one. 2. It expressed a readiness to agree on 
the periodical meeting of the States. 3. To consult on the ne- 
cessary restriction on Lettres de Cachet; and 4. How far the 
press might be made free. 5. It admits that the States are to 
appropriate the public money ; and 6. That Ministers shall be 
responsible for public expenditures. And these concessions came 
from the very heart of the King. He had not a wish but for the 
good of the nation ; and for that object, no personal sacrifice 
would ever have cost him a moment's regret ; but his mind was 
weakness itself, his constitution timid, his judgment null, and 
without sufficient firmness even to stand by the faith of his word. 
His Q,ueen, too, haughty and bearing no contradiction, had an 
absolute ascendency over him ; and around her were rallied the 
King's brother d'Artois, the court generally, and the aristocratic 
part of his Ministers, particularly Breteuil, Broglio, Yauguyon, 
Foulon, Luzerne, men whose principles of government were 
those of the age of Louis XIV. Against this host, the good 
counsels of Necker, Montmorin, St. Priest, although in unison 
with the wishes of the King himself, were of little avail. The 
resolutions of the morning, formed under their advice, would be 
reversed in the evening, by the influence of the Queen and 
court. But the hand of heaven weighed heavily indeed on the 
machinations of this junto ; producing collateral incidents, not 
arising out of the case, yet powerfully co-exciting the nation to 
force a regeneration of its government, and overwhelming with 
accumulated difficulties, this liberticide resistance. For, while 
laboring under the want of money for even ordinary purposes, in 
a government which required a million of livres a day, and 
driven to the last ditch by the universal call for liberty, there 
came on a winter of such severe cold, as was without example in 
the memory of man, or in the written records of history. The 


Mercury was at times 50 below the freezing point of Faren- 
heit, and 22 below that of Reaumur. All out-door labor was 
suspended, and the poor, without the wages of labor, were, of 
course, without either bread or fuel. The government found its 
necessities aggravated by that of procuring immense quantities of 
fire-wood, and of keeping great fires at all the cross streets, around 
which the people gathered in crowds, to avoid perishing with cold. 
Bread, too, was to be bought, and distributed daily, gratis, until a 
relaxation of the season should enable the people to work ; and 
the slender stock of bread stuff had for some time threatened fam- 
ine, and had raised that article to an enormous price. So great, 
indeed, was the scarcity of bread, that, from the highest to the 
lowest citizen, the bakers were permitted to deal but a scanty al- 
lowance per head, even to those who paid for it ; and, in cards of 
invitation to dine in the richest houses, the guest was notified to 
bring his own bread. To eke out the existence of the people, 
every person who had the means, was called on for a weekly sub- 
scription, which the Cures collected, and employed in providing 
messes for the nourishment of the poor, and vied with each other 
in devising such economical compositions of food, as would sub- 
sist the greatest number with the smallest means. This want 
of bread had been foreseen for some time past, and M. de Mont- 
morin had desired me to notify it in America, and that, in addition 
to the market price, a premium should be given on what should 
be brought from the United States. Notice was accordingly 
given, and produced considerable supplies. Subsequent informa- 
tion made the importations from America, during the months of 
March, April and May, into the Atlantic ports of France, amount 
to about twenty-one thousand barrels of flour, besides what went 
to other ports, and in other months ; while our supplies to their 
West Indian islands relieved them also from that drain. This 
distress for bread continued till July. 

Hitherto no acts of popular violence had been produced by the 
struggle for political reformation. Little riots, on ordinary inci- 
dents, had taken place as at other times, in different parts of the 
kingdom, in whi~,h some lives, perhaps a dozen or twenty, had 


been lost ; but in the month of April, a more serious one occurred 
in Paris, unconnected, indeed, with the Revolutionary principle, 
but making part of the history of the day. The Fauxbourg St. 
Antoine is a quarter of the city inhabited entirely by the class 
of day laborers and journeymen in every line. A rumor was 
spread among them, that a great paper manufacturer, of the name 
of Reveillon, had proposed, on some occasion, that their wages 
should be lowered to fifteen sous a day. Inflamed at once into 
rage, and without inquiring into its truth, they flew to his house 
in vast numbers, destroyed everything in it, and in his magazines 
and work-shops, without secreting, however, a pin's worth to 
themselves, and were continuing this work of devastation, when 
the regular troops were called in. Admonitions being disregard- 
ed, they were of necessity fired on, and a regular action ensued, 
in which about one hundred of them were killed, before the rest 
would disperse. There had rarely passed a year without such a 
riot, in some part or other of the Kingdom ; and this is distin- 
guished only as cotemporary with the Revolution, although not 
produced by it. 

The States General were opened on the 5th of May, '89, by 
speeches from the King, the Garde des Sceaux, Lamoignon, and 
M. Necker. The last was thought to trip too lightly over the 
constitutional reformations which were expected. His notices of 
them in this speech, were not as full as in his previous l Rapport 
au Roi.' This was observed, to his disadvantage ; but much al- 
lowance should have been made for the situation in which he 
was placed, between his own counsels, and those of the ministers 
and party of the court. Overruled in his own opinions, compelled 
to deliver, and to gloss over those of his opponents, and even to 
keep their secrets, he could not come forward in his own attitude. 

The composition of the Assembly, although equivalent, on the 
whole, to what had been expected, was something different in its 
elements. It had been supposed, that a superior education would 
carry into the scale of the Commons a respectable portion of the 
Noblesse. It did so as to those of Paris, of its vicinity, and of 
the other considerable cities, whose greater intercourse with en- 


lightened society had liberalized their minds, and prepared them 
to advance up to the measure of the times. But the Noblesse of 
the country, which constituted two-thirds of that body, were far 
in their rear. Residing constantly on their patrimonial feuds, 
and familiarized, by daily habit, with Seigneurial powers and 
practices, they had not yet learned to suspect their inconsistence 
with reason and right. They were willing to submit to equality 
of taxation, but not to descend from their rank and prerogatives 
to be incorporated in session with the Tiers etat. Among the 
Clergy, on the other hand, it had been apprehended that the 
higher orders of the Hierarchy, by their wealth and connections, 
would have carried the elections generally ; but it turned out, that 
in most cases, the lower clergy had obtained the popular majorities. 
These consisted of the Cures, sons of the peasantry, who had been 
employed to do all the drudgery of parochial services for ten, 
twenty, or thirty Louis a year ; while their superiors were consum- 
ing their princely revenues in palaces of luxury and indolence. 

The objects for which this body was convened, being of the 
first order of importance, I felt it very interesting to understand 
the views of the parties of which it was composed, and especially 
the ideas prevalent as to the organization contemplated for their 
government. I went, therefore, daily from Paris to Versailles, 
and attended their debates, generally till the hour of adjourn- 
ment. Those of the Noblesse were impassioned and tempestu- 
ous. They had some able men on both sides, actuated by equal 
zeal. The debates of the Commons were temperate, rational, 
and inflexibly firm. As preliminary to all other business, the 
awful questions came on, shall the States sit in one, or in distinct 
apartments ? And shall they vote by heads or houses ? The op- 
position was soon found to consist of the Episcopal order among 
the clergy, and two-thirds of the Noblesse ; while the Tiers etat 
were, to a man, united and determined. After various proposi- 
tions of compromise had failed, the Commons undertook to cut 
the Gordian knot. The Abbe Sieyes, the most logical head of 
the nation, (author of the pamphlet " Q-u'est ce que le Tiers etat ?" 
which had electrified that country, as Paine 's Common Sense did 


us,) after an impressive speech on the 10th of June, moved that 
i last invitation should be sent to the Noblesse and Clergy, to at- 
tend in the hall of the States, collectively or individually, for the 
verification of powers, to which the Commons would proceed 
immediately, either in their presence or absence. This verifica- 
tion being finished, a motion was made, on the 15th, that they 
should constitute themselves a National Assembly; which was 
decided on the 17th, by a majority of four-fifths. During the 
debates on this question, about twenty of the Cures had joined 
them, and a proposition was made, in the chamber of the Clergy, 
that their whole body should join. This was rejected, at first, 
by a small majority only ; but, being afterwards somewhat modi- 
fied, it was decided affirmatively, by a majority of eleven. While 
this was under debate, and unknown to the court, to wit, on the 
19th, a council was held in the afternoon, at Marly, wherein it 
was proposed that the King should interpose, by a declaration of 
his sentiments, in a seance royale. A form of declaration was 
proposed by Necker, which, while it censured, in general, the pro- 
ceedings, both of the Nobles and Commons, announced the King's 
views, such as substantially to coincide with the Commons. It 
was agreed to in Council, the seance was fixed for the 22d, the 
meetings of the States were till then to be suspended, and every- 
thing, in the meantime, kept secret. The members, the next 
morning (the 20th) repairing to their house, as usual, found the 
doors shut and guarded, a proclamation posted up for a seance 
royale on the 22d, and a suspension of their meetings in the 
meantime. Concluding that their dissolution was now to take 
place, they repaired to a building called the " Jeu de paiune " (or 
Tennis court) and there bound themselves by oath to each other, 
never to separate, of their own accord, till they had settled a con- 
stitution for the nation, on a solid basis, and, if separated by force, 
that they would reassemble in some other place. The next day 
they met in the church of St. Louis, and were joined by a ma- 
jority of Iho clergy. The heads of the Aristocracy saw that all 
was lost without some bold exertion. The King was still at 
Marly. Nobody was permitted to approach him but their friends. 


He was assailed by falsehoods in all shapes. He was made lo 
believe that the Commons were about to absolve the army from 
their oath of fidelity to him, and to raise their pay. The court 
party were now all rage and desperation. They procured a com- 
mittee to be held, consisting of the King and his Ministers, to 
which Monsieur and the Count d'Artois should be admitted. At 
this committee, the latter attacked M. Necker personally, ar- 
raigned his declaration, and proposed one which some of his 
prompters had put into his hands. M. Necker was brow-beaten 
and intimidated, and the King shaken. He determined that the 
two plans should be deliberated on the next day, and the seance 
royale put off a day longer. This encouraged a fiercer attack on 
M. Necker the next day. His draught of a declaration was en- 
tirely broken up, and that of the Count d'Artois inserted into it, 
Himself and Montmorin offered their resignation, which was re- 
fused ; the Count d'Artois saying to M. Necker, " No sir, you 
must be kept as the hostage ; we hold you responsible for all the 
ill which shall happen." This change of plan was immediately 
whispered without doors. The Noblesse were in triumph ; the 
people in consternation. I was quite alarmed at this state of 
things. The soldiery had not yet indicated which side they 
should take, and that which they should support would be sure 
to prevail. I considered a successful reformation of government 
in France, as insuring a general reformation through Europe, and 
the resurrection, to a new life, of their people, now ground to dust * 
by the abuses of the governing powers. I was much acquainted 
with the leading patriots of the Assembly. Being from a country 
which had successfully passed through a similar reformation, they 
were disposed to my acquaintance, and had some confidence in 
me. I urged, most strenuously, an immediate compromise ; to 
secure what the government was now ready to yield, and trust to 
future occasions for what might still be wanting. It was well 
understood that the King would grant, at this time, 1. Freedom 
of the person by Habeas corpus : 2. Freedom of conscience : 3. 
Freedom of the press : 4. Trial by jury : 5. A representative Leg- 
islature : 6. Annual meetings : 7. The origination of laws : 8. 


The exclusive right of taxation and appropriation : and 9. The 
responsibility of Ministers ; and with the exercise of these powers 
they could obtain, in future, whatever might be further necessary 
to improve and preserve their constitution. They thought other- 
wise, however, and events have proved their lamentable error. 
For, after thirty years of war, foreign and domestic, the loss of 
millions of lives, the prostration of private happiness, and the 
foreign subjugation of their own country for a time, they have 
obtained no more, nor even that securely. They were uncon- 
scious of (for who could foresee?) the melancholy sequel of their 
well-meant perseverance ; that their physical force would be 
usurped by a first tyrant to trample on the independence, and 
even the existence, of other nations : that this would afford a fatal 
example for the atrocious conspiracy of Kings against their people ; 
would generate their unholy and homicide alliance to make com- 
mon cause among themselves, and to crush, by the power of the 
whole, the efforts of any part to moderate their abuses and op- 
pressions. . 

When the King passed, the next day, through the lane formed 
from the Chateau to the " Hotel des etats," there was a dead si- 
lence. He was about an hour in the House, delivering his speech 
and declaration. On his coming out, a feeble cry of " vive le Roi" 
was raised by some children, but the people remained silent and 
sullen. In the close of his speech, he had ordered that the mem- 
bers should follow him, and resume their deliberations the next 
day. The Noblesse followed him, and so did the Clergy, except 
about thirty, who, with the Tiers, remained in the room, and en- 
tered into deliberation. They protested against what the King had 
done, adhered to all their former proceedings, and resolved the 
inviolability of their own persons. An officer came, to order them 
out of the room in the King's name. " Tell those who sent you," 
said Mirabeau, " that we shall not move hence but at our own will, 
or the point of the bayonet." In the afternoon, the people, uneasy, 
began to assemble in great numbers in the courts, and vicinities 
of the palace. This produced alarm. The Queen sent for M. 
Necker. He was conducted, amidst the shouts and acclamations 


of the multitude, who filled all the apartments of the palace. He 
was a few minutes only with the Queen, and what passed between 
them did not transpire. The King went out to ride. He passed 
through the crowd to his carriage, and into it, without being in the 
least noticed. As M. Necker followed him, universal acclama- 
tions were raised of " vive Monsier Necker, vive le sauveur de la 
France opprimce." He was conducted back to his house with 
the same demonstrations of affection and anxiety. About two hun- 
dred deputies of the Tiers, catching the enthusiasm of the mo- 
ment, went to his house, and extorted from him a promise that he 
would not resign. On the 25th, forty-eight of the Nobles joined 
the Tiers, and among them the Duke of Orleans. There were 
then with them one hundred and sixty-four members of the Clergy, 
although the minority of that body still sat apart, and called them- 
selves the Chamber of the Clergy. On the 26th, the Archbishop 
of Paris joined the Tiers, as did some others of the Clergy and 
of the Noblesse. 

These proceedings had thrown the people into violent ferment. 
It gained the soldiery, first of the French guards, extended to 
those of every other denomination, except the Swiss, and even to 
the body guards of the King. They began to quit their barracks, 
to assemble in squads, to declare they would defend the life of the 
King, but would not be the murderers of their fellow-citizens. 
They called themselves the soldiers of the nation, and left now no 
doubt on which side they would be, in case of rupture. Similar 
accounts came in from the troops in other parts of the kingdom, 
giving good reason to believe they would side with their fathers 
and brothers, rather than with their officers. The operation of 
this medicine at Versailles was as sudden as it was powerful. 
The alarm there was so complete, that in the afternoon of the 
27th, the King wrote, with his own hand, letters to the Presidents 
of the Clergy and Nobles, engaging them immediately to join the 
Tiers. These two bodies were debating, and hesitating, when 
notes from the Count d'Artois decided their compliance. They 
went in a body, and took their seats with the Tiers, and thus 
rendered the union of the orders in one chamber complete. 


The Assembly now entered on the business of their mission, 
and first proceeded to arrange the order in which they would take 
up the heads of their constitution, as follows : 

First, and as Preliminary to the whole, a general Declaration 
of the Rights of Man. Then, specifically, the Principles of the 
Monarchy ; Rights of the Nation ; rights of the King ; rights of the 
Citizens ; organization and rights of the National Assembly ; forms 
necessary for the enactment of Laws ; organization and functions 
of the Provincial and Municipal Assemblies ; duties and limits of 
the Judiciary power ; functions and duties of the Military power. 

A Declaration of the Rights of Man, as the preliminary of their 
work, was accordingly prepared and proposed by the Marquis de 
La Fayette. 

But the quiet of their march was soon disturbed by information 
that troops, and particularly the foreign troops, were advancing on 
Paris from various quarters. The King had probably been ad- 
vised to this, on the pretext of preserving peace in Paris. But 
his advisers were believed to have other things in contemplation. 
The Marshal de Broglio was appointed to their command, a high- 
flying aristocrat, cool and capable of everything. Some of the 
French guards were soon arrested, under other pretexts, but really, 
on account of their dispositions in favor of the National cause. 
The people of Paris forced their prison, liberated them, and sent 
a deputation to the Assembly to solicit a pardon. The Assembly 
recommended peace and order to the people of Paris, the prison- 
ers to the King, and asked from him the removal of the troops. 
His answer was negative and dry, saying they might remove them- 
selves, if they pleased, to Noyons or Soissons. In the meantime, 
these troops, to the number of twenty or thirty thousand, had ar- 
rived, and were posted in, and between Paris and Versailles. The 
bridges and passes were guarded. At three o'clock in the after- 
noon of the llth of July, the Count de La Luzerne was sent to notify 
M. Necker of his dismission, and to enjoin him to retire instantly, 
without saying a word of it to anybody. He went home, dined, 
and proposed to his wife a visit to a friend, but went in fact to his 
country house at St. Ouen, and at midnight set out frr Brussels. 


This was not known till the next day (the 12th,) when the whole 
Ministry was changed, except Villedeuil, of the domestic depart- 
ment, and Barenton, Garde des sceaux. The changes were as 
follows : 

The Baron de Breteuil, President of the Council of Finance ; 
de la Galaisiere, Comptroller General, in the room of M. Necker ; 
the Marshal de Broglio, Minister of War, and Foulon under him, 
in the room of Puy-Segur ; the Duke de la Vauguyon, Minister 
of Foreign Affairs, instead of the Count de Montmorin ; de La 
Porte, Minister of Marine, in place of the Count de La Luzerne ; 
St. Priest was also removed from the Council. Luzerne and 
Puy-Segur had been strongly of the Aristocratic party in the 
Council, hut they were not considered equal to the work now to 
be done. The King was now completely in the hands of men, 
the principal among whom had been noted, through their lives, 
for the Turkish despotism of their characters, and who were as- 
sociated around the King, as proper instruments for what was to 
be executed. The news of this change began to be known at 
Paris, about one or two o'clock. In the afternoon, a body of 
about one hundred German cavalry were advanced, and drawn up 
in the Place Louis XV., and about two hundred Swiss posted at 
a little distance in their rear. This drew people to the spot, who 
thus accidentally found themselves in front of the troops, merely 
at first as spectators ; but, as their numbers increased, their indig- 
nation rose. They retired a few steps, and posted themselves on 
and behind large piles of stones, large and small, collected in that 
place for a bridge, which was to be built adjacent to it. In this 
position, happening to be in my carriage on a visit, I passed through 
the lane they had formed, without interruption. But the moment 
after I had passed, the people attacked the cavalry with stones. 
They charged, but the advantageous position of the people, and 
the showers of stones, obliged the horse to retire, and quit the 
field altogether, leaving one of their number on the ground, and 
the Swiss in the rear not moving to their aid. This was the signal 
for universal insurrection, arid this body of cavalry, to avoid being 
massacred, retired towards Versailles. The people now armed 

VOL. i. 7 


themselves with such weapons as they could find in armorer's 
shops, and private houses, and with bludgeons ; and were roaming 
all night, through all parts of the city, without any decided object. 
The next day (the 13th,) the Assembly pressed on the King to 
send away the troops, to permit the Bourgeoisie of Paris to arm for 
the preservation of order in the city, and offered to send a depu- 
tation from their body to tranquillize them ; but their propositions 
were refused. A committee of magistrates and electors of the 
city were appointed by those bodies, to take upon them its govern- 
ment. The people, now openly joined by the French guards, forced 
the prison of St. Lazare, released all the prisoners, and took a great 
store of corn, which they carried to the corn-market. Here they 
got some arms, and the French guards began to form and train 
them. The city-committee determined to raise forty-eight thou- 
sand Bourgeoise, or rather to restrain their numbers to forty-eight 
thousand. On the 14th, they sent one of their members (Mon- 
sieur de Corny) to the Hotel des Invalides, to ask arms for their 
Garde Bourgeoise. He was followed by, and he found there, a 
great collection of people. The Governor of the Invalids came 
out, and represented the impossibility of his delivering arms, with- 
out the orders of those from whom he received them. De Corny 
advised the people then to retire, and retired himself; but the 
people took possession of the arms. It was remarkable, that not 
only the Invalids themselves made no opposition, but that a body 
of five thousand foreign troops, within four hundred yards, never 
stirred. M. de Corny, and five others, were then sent to ask arms 
of M. de Launay, Governor of the Bastile. They found a great 
collection of people already before the place, and they immedi- 
ately planted a flag of truce, which was answered by a like flag 
hoisted on the parapet. The deputation prevailed on the people to 
fall back a little, advanced themselves to make their demand of the 
Governor, and in that instant, a discharge from the Bastile killed 
four persons of those nearest to the deputies. The deputies retired. 
I happened to be at the house of M. de Corny, when he returned 
to it, and received from him a narrative of these transactions. On 
the retirement of the deputies, the people rushed forward, and 


almost in an instant, were in possession of a fortification of infinite 
strength, defended by one hundred men, which in other times had 
stood several regular sieges, and had never been taken. How 
they forced their entrance has never been explained. They took 
all the arms, discharged the prisoners, and such of the garrison as 
were not killed in the first moment of fury ; carried the Governor 
and Lieutenant Governor, to the Place de Greve, (the place of 
public execution,) cut off their heads, and sent them through the 
city, in triumph, to the Palais royal. About the same instant, a 
treacherous correspondence having been discovered in M. de 
Flesselles, Prevot des Marchands, they seized him in the Hotel de 
Ville, where he was in the execution of his office, and cut off 
his head. These events, carried imperfectly to Versailles, were 
the subject of two successive deputations from the Assembly to 
the King, to both of which he gave dry and hard answers ; for 
nobody had as yet been permitted to inform him, truly and fully, 
of what had passed at Paris. But at night, the Duke de Lian- 
court forced his way into the King's bed chamber, and obliged 
him to hear a full and animated detail of the disasters of the day 
in Paris. He went to bed fearfully impressed. The decapi- 
tation of de Launay worked powerfully through the night on the 
whole Aristocratic party ; insomuch, that in the morning, those 
of the greatest influence on the Count d'Artois, represented to him 
the absolute necessity that the King should give up everything to 
the Assembly. This according with the dispositions of the King, 
he went about eleven o'clock, accompanied only by his brothers, 
to the Assembly, and there read to them a speech, in which he 
asked their interposition to re-establish order. Although couched 
in terms of some caution, yet the manner in which it was delivered, 
made it evident that it was meant as a surrender at discretion. He 
returned to the Chateau a foot, accompanied by the Assembly. 
They sent off a deputation to quiet Paris, at the head of which was 
the Marquis de La Fayette, who had, the same morning, been 
named Commandant en chef of the Milice Bourgeoise ; and Mon- 
sieur Bailly, former President of the States General, was called for 
as Prevot des Marchands. The demolition of the Bastile was now 


ordered and begun. A body of the Swiss guards, of the regi- 
ment of Ventimille, and the city horse guards joined the people. 
The alarm at Versailles increased. The foreign troops were or- 
dered off instantly. Every Minister resigned. The King con- 
firmed Bailly as Prevot des Marchands, wrote to M. Necker, to 
recall him, sent his letter open to the Assembly, to be forwarded 
by them, and invited them to go with him to Paris the next day, 
to satisfy the city of his dispositions ; and that night, and the next 
morning, the Count d'Artois, and M. de Montesson, a deputy con- 
nected with him, Madame de Polignac, Madame de Guiche, and 
the Count de Vaudreuil, favorites of the Queen, the Abbe de Ver- 
mont her confessor, the Prince of Conde, and Duke of Bourbon fled. 
The King came to Paris, leaving the dueen in consternation for 
his return. Omitting the less important figures of the procession, 
the King's carriage was in the centre ; on each side of it, the As- 
sembly, in two ranks a foot ; at their head the Marquis de La Fayette, 
as Commander-in-chief, on horseback, and Bourgeois guards be- 
fore and behind. About sixty thousand citizens, of all forms and 
conditions, armed with the conquests of the Bastile and Invalids, 
as far as they would go, the rest with pistols, swords, pikes, prim- 
ing-hooks, scythes, &c., lined all the streets through which the 
procession passed, and with the crowds of people in the streets, 
doors, and windows, saluted them everywhere with the cries of 
" vive la nation," but not a single " vive le Roi" was heard. The 
King stopped at the Hotel de Ville. There M. Bailly presented, 
and put into his hat, the popular cockade, and addressed him. 
The King being unprepared, and unable to answer, Bailly went 
to him, gathered from him some scraps of sentences, and made 
out an answer, which he delivered to the audience, as from the 
King. On their return, the popular cries were " vive le Roi et la 
nation." He was conducted by a garde Bourgeoise to his palace 
at Versailles, and thus concluded an " amende honorable," as no 
sovereign ever made, and no people ever received. 

And here, again, was lost another precious occasion of sparing 
to France the crimes and cruelties through which she has since 
passed, and to Europe, and finally America, the evils which 


flowed on them also from this mortal source. The King was 
now become a passive machine in the hands of the National C 
Assembly, and had he been left to himself, he would have 
willingly acquiesced in whatever they should devise as best for 
the nation. A wise constitution would have been formed, hered- 
itary in his line, himself placed at its head, with powers so 
large as to enable him to do all the good of his station, and so 
limited, as to restrain him from its abuse. This he would have 
faithfully administered, and more than this, I do not believe, he 
ever wished. But- he had a Queen of absolute sway over his 
weak mind and timid virtue, and of a character the reverse of 
his in all points. This angel, as gaudily painted in the rhapso- 
dies of Burke, with some smartness of fancy, but no sound sense, 
was proud, disdainful of restraint, indignant at all obstacles to 
her will, eager in the pursuit of pleasure, and firm enough to hold 
to her desires, or perish in their wreck. Her inordinate gambling 
and dissipations, with those of the Count d'Artois, and others of 
her clique, had been a sensible item in the exhaustion of the 
treasury, which called into action the reforming hand of the na- 
tion ; and her opposition to it, her inflexible perverseness, and 
dauntless spirit, led herself to the Guillotine, drew the King on 
with her, and plunged the world into crimes and calamities which 
will forever stain the pages of modern history. I have ever be- 
lieved, that had there been no Queen, there would have been no 
revolution. No force would have been provoked, nor exercised. 
The King would have gone hand in hand with the wisdom of 
his sounder counsellors, who, guided by the increased lights of 
the age, wished only, with the same pace, to advance the princi- 7 
pies of their social constitution. The deed which closed the 
mortal course of these sovereigns, I shall neither approve nor con- 
demn. I am not prepared to say, that the first magistrate of a 
nation cannot commit treason against his country, or is unamena- 
ble to its punishment ; nor yet, that where there is no written 
law, no regulated tribunal, there is not a law in our hearts, and a ' 
power in our hands, given for righteous employment in maintain- 
ing right, and redressing wrong. Of those who judged the King, 


many thought him wilfully criminal ; many, that his existence 

would keep the nation in perpetual conflict with the horde of 
Kings who would war against a generation which might come 
home to themselves, and that it were better that one should die 
than all. I should not have voted with this portion of the legis- 
ture. I should have shut up the Queen, in a convent, putting 
harm out of her power, and placed the King in his station, in- 
vesting him with limited powers, which, I verily believe, he 
would have honestly exercised, according to the measure of his 
understanding. In this way, no void would have been created, 
courting the usurpation of a military adventurer, nor occasion 
given for those enormities which demoralized the nations of the 
world, and destroyed, and is yet to destroy, millions and millions 
of its inhabitants. There are three epochs in history, signalized 

by the total extinction of national morality. The first was of 
the successors of Alexander, not omitting himself: The next, 
the successors of the first Caesar : The third, our own age. This 
was begun by the partition of Poland, followed by that of the 
treaty of Pilnitz ; next the conflagration of Copenhagen ; then 
the enormities of Bonaparte, partitioning the earth at his will, and 
devastating it with fire and sword ; now the conspiracy of Kings, 
the successors of Bonaparte, blasphemously calling themselves 
the Holy Alliance, and treading in the footsteps of their incarcer- 
ated leader ; not yet, indeed, usurping the government of other 
nations, avowedly and in detail, but controlling by their armies 
the forms in which they will permit them to be governed ; and 
reserving, in petto, the order and extent of the usurpations 
further meditated. Bat I will return from a digression, antici- 
pated, too, in time, into which I have been led by reflection on 

, the criminal passions which refused to the world a favorable oc- 
casion of saving it from the afflictions it has since sutfered. 

M. Necker had reached Basle before he was overtaken by 
the letter of the King, inviting him back to resume the office 
he had recently left. He returned immediately, and all the 
other Ministers having resigned, a new administration was 
named, to wit : St. Priest arid Montmorin were restored ; the 


Archbishop of Bordeaux was appointed Garde des sceaux, La 
Tour du Pin, Minister of War ; La Luzerne, Minister of Marine. 
This last was believed to have been effected by the friendship 
of Montmorin ; for although differing in politics, they continued 
firm in friendship, and Luzerne, although not an able man, was 
thought an honest one. And the Prince of Bauvau was taken 
into the Council. 

Seven Princes of the blood Royal, six ex-Ministers, and many 
of the high Noblesse, having fled, and the present Ministers, 
except Luzerne, being all of the popular party, all the functiona- 
ries of government moved, for the present, in perfect harmony. 

In the evening of August the 4th, and on the motion of the 
Viscount de Noailles, brother in law of La Fayette, the Assem- 
bly abolished all titles of rank, all the abusive privileges of feu- 
dalism, the tithes and casuals of the Clergy, all Provincial 
privileges, and, in fine, the Feudal regimen generally. To the 
suppression of tithes, the Abbe Sieves was vehemently oppos- 
ed ; but his learned and logical arguments were unheeded, and 
his estimation lessened by a contrast of his egoism (for he was 
beneficed on them), with the generous abandonment of rights 
by the other members of the Assembly. Many days were em- 
ployed in putting into the form of laws, the numerous demoli- 
tions of ancient abuses ; which done, they proceeded to the 
preliminary work of a Declaration of rights. There being 
much concord of sentiment on the elements of this instrument, 
it was liberally framed, and passed with a very general appro- 
bation. They then appointed a Committee for the " reduction 
of a projet" of a constitution, at the head of which was the 
Archbishop of Bordeaux. I received from him, as chairman of 
the Committee, a letter of July 20th, requesting me to attend 
and assist at their deliberations ; but I excused myself, on the 
obvious considerations, that my mission was to the King as 
Chief Magistrate of the nation, that my duties were limited to 
the concerns of my own country, and forbade me to intermed- 
dle with the internal transactions of that, in which I had been 
received under a specific character only. Their plan of a con- 


stitution was discussed in sections, and so reported from time 
to time, as agreed to by the Committee. The first respected 
the general frame of the government ; and that this should be 
formed into three departments, Executive, Legislative and Ju- 
diciary, was generally agreed. But when they proceeded to 
subordinate developments, many and Various shades of opinion 
came into conflict, and schism, strongly marked, broke the Pa- 
triots into fragments of very discordant principles. The first 
question, Whether there should be a King ? met with no open 
opposition ; and it was readily agreed, that the government of 
France should be monarchical and hereditary. Shall the King 
have a negative on the laws ? shall that negative be absolute, 
or suspensive only ? Shall there be two Chambers of Legisla- 
tion ? or one only ? If two, shall one of them be hereditary ? 
or for life ? or for a fixed term ? and named by the King ? or 
elected by the people ? These questions found strong differ- 
ences of opinion, and produced repulsive combinations among 
the Patriots. The Aristocracy was cemented by a common 
principle, of preserving the ancient regime, or whatever should 
be nearest to it. Making this their polar star, they moved in 
phalanx, gave preponderance on every question to the minorities 
of the Patriots, and always to those who advocated the least 
change. The features of the new constitution were thus as- 
suming a fearful aspect, and great alarm was produced among 
the honest Patriots by these dissensions in their ranks. In this 
uneasy state of things, I received one day a note from the Mar- 
quis de La Fayette, informing me that he should bring a party 
of six or eight friends to ask a dinner of me the next day. I 
assured him of their welcome. When they arrived, they were 
La Fayette himself, Duport, Barnave, Alexander la Meth, 
Blacon, Mounier, Maubourg, and Dagout. These were leading 
Patriots, of honest but differing opinions, sensible of the neces- 
sity of effecting a coalition by mutual sacrifices, knowing each 
other, and not afraid, therefore, to unbosom themselves mutu- 
ally. This last was a material principle in the selection. With 
this view, the Marquis had in /ited the conference, and had fixed 


the time and place inadvertently, as to the embarrassment under 
which it might place me. The cloth being removed, and wine 
set on the table, after the American manner, the Marquis intro- 
duced the objects of the conference, by summarily reminding 
them of the state of things in the Assembly, the course which 
the principles of the Constitution were taking, and the inevita- 
ble result, unless checked by more concord among the Patriots 
themselves. He observed, that although he also had his 
opinion, he was ready to sacrifice it to that of his brethren of 
the same cause ; but that a common opinion must now be 
formed, or the Aristocracy would carry everything, and that, 
whatever they should now agree on, he, at the head of the Na- 
tional force, would maintain. The discussions began at the 
hour of four, and were continued till ten o'clock in the even- 
ing ; during which time, I was a silent witness to a coolness 
and candor of argument, unusual in the conflicts of political 
opinion ; to a logical reasoning, and chaste eloquence, disfigured 
by no gaudy tinsel of rhetoric or declamation, and truly worthy 
of being placed in parallel with the finest dialogues of antiquity, 
as handed to us by Xenophon, by Plato and Cicero. The re- 
sult was, that the King should have a suspensive veto on the 
laws, that the legislature should be composed of a single body 
only, and that to be chosen by the people. This Concordate 
decided the fate of the constitution. The Patriots all rallied to 
the principles thus settled, carried every question agreeably to 
them, and reduced the Aristocracy to insignificance and impo- 
tence. But duties of exculpation were now incumbent on me. 
I waited on Count Montmorin the next morning, and explained 
to him, with truth and candor, how it had happened that my 
house had been made the scene of conferences of such a char- 
acter. He told me, he already knew everything which had 
passed, that so far from taking umbrage at the use made of my 
house on that occasion, he earnestly wished I would habitually 
assist at such conferences, being sure I should be useful in 
moderating the warmer spirits, and promoting a wholesome and 
practicable reformation only. I told him, I knew too well the 


duties I owed to the King, to the nation, and to my own coun- 
try, to take any part in councils concerning their internal gov- 
ernment, and that I should persevere, with care, in the charac- 
ter of a neutral and passive spectator, with wishes only, and 
very sincere ones, that those measures might prevail which 
would be for the greatest good of the nation. I have no doubts, 
indeed, that this conference was previously known and ap- 
proved by this honest Minister, who was in confidence and 
communication with the Patriots, and wished for a reasonable 
reform of the Constitution. 

Here I discontinue my relation of the French Revolution. 
The minuteness with which I have so far given its details, is 
disproportioned to the general scale of my narrative. But I 
have thought it justified by the interest which the whole world 
must take in this Revolution. As yet, we are but in the first 
chapter of its history. The appeal to the rights of man, which 
had been made in the United States, was taken up by France, 
first of the European nations. From her, the spirit has spread 
over those of the South. The tyrants of the North have allied 
indeed against it; but it is irresistible. Their opposition will 
only multiply its millions of human victims ; their own satellites 
will catch it, and the condition of man through the civilized 
world, will be finally and greatly ameliorated. This is a won- 
derful instance of great events from small causes. So inscru- 
table is the arrangement of causes and consequences in this 
world, that a two-penny duty on tea, unjustly imposed in a se- 
questered part of it, changes the condition of all its inhabitants. 
I have been more minute in relating the early transactions of 
this regeneration, because I was in circumstances peculiarly 
favorable for a knowledge of the truth. Possessing the con- 
fidence and intimacy of the leading Patriots, and more than all, 
of the Marquis Fayette, their head and Atlas, who had no secrets 
from me, I learned with correctness the views and proceedings 
of that party ; while my intercourse with the diplomatic mis- 
sionaries of Europe at Paris, all of them with the court, and 
eager in prying into its councils and proceedings, gave rne a 


knowledge of these also. My information was always, and im- 
mediately committed to writing, in letters to Mr. Jay, and often 
to my friends, and a recurrence to these letters now insures me 
against errors of memory. 

.. These opportunities of information ceased at this period, with 
my retirement from this interesting scene of action. I had been 
more than a year soliciting leave to go home, with a view to 
place my daughters in the society and care of their friends, and 
to return for a short time to my station at Paris. But the meta- 
morphosis through which our government was then passing from 
its Chrysalid to its Organic form suspended its action in a great 
degree ; and it was not till the last of August, that I received the 
permission I had asked. And here, I cannot leave this great 
and good country, without expressing my sense of its pre-emi- 
nence of character among the nations of the earth. A more 
benevolent people I have never known, nor greater warmth and 
devotedness in their select friendships. Their kindness and ac- 
commodation to strangers is unparalleled, and the hospitality of 
Paris is beyond anything I had conceived to be practicable in 
a large city. Their eminence, too, in science, the communica- 
tive dispositions of their scientific men, the politeness of the 
general manners, the ease and vivacity of their conversation, 
give a charm to their society, to be found nowhere else. In a 
comparison of this, with other countries, we have the proof of 
primacy, which was given to Themistocles, after the battle of 
Salamis. Every general voted to himself the first reward of 
valor, and the second to Themistocles. So, ask the travelled 
inhabitant of any nation, in what country on earth would you 
rather live ? Certainly, in my own, where are all my friends, 
my relations, and the earliest and sweetest affections and recol- 
lections of my life. Which would be your second choice ? 

On the 26th of September I left Paris for Havre, where I 
was detained by contrary winds until the 8th of October. On 
that clay, and the 9th, I crossed over to Cowes, where I had en- 
gaged the Clermont, Capt. Colley, to touch for me. She did so ; 


but here again we were detained by contrary winds, until the 
22d, when we embarked, and landed at Norfolk on the 23d 
of November. On my way home, I passed some days at Ep- 
pington, in Chesterfield, the residence of my friend and connec- 
tion, Mr. Eppes ; and, while there, I received a letter from the 
President, General Washington, by express, covering an appoint- 
ment to be Secretary of State.* I received it with real regret. 
My wish had been to return to Paris, where I had left my 
household establishment, as if there myself, and to see the end 
of the Revolution, which I then thought would be certainly and 
happily closed in less than a year. I then meant to return home, 
to withdraw from political life, into which I had been impressed 
by the circumstances of the times, to sink into the bosom of my 
family and friends, and devote myself to studies more congenial 
to my mind. In my answer of December 15th, I expressed 
these dispositions candidly to the President, and my preference 
of a return to Paris ; but assured him, that if it was believed I 
could be more useful in the administration of the government, I 
would sacrifice my own inclinations without hesitation, and re- 
pair to that destination; this I left to his decision. I arrived at 
Monticello on the 23d of December, where I received a second 
letter from the President, expressing his continued wish that I 
should take my station there, but leaving me still at liberty to 
continue in my former office, if I could not reconcile myself to 
that now proposed. This silenced my reluctance, and I accept- 
ed the new appointment. 

In the interval of my stay at home, my eldest daughter had 
been happily married to the eldest son of the Tuckahoe branch 
of Randolphs, a young gentleman of genius, science, and honor- 
able mind, who afterwards filled a dignified station in the Gene- 
ral Government, and the most dignified in his own State. I left 
Monticeilo on the first of March, 1790, for New York. At Phila- 
delphia I called on the venerable and beloved Franklin. He 
was then on the bed of sickness from which he never rose. My 
recent return from a country in which he had left so many 

[* See Appendix, note H] 


friends, and the perilous convulsions to which they had been ex- 
posed, revived all his anxieties to know what part they had 
taken, what had been their course, and what their fate. He 
went over all in succession, with a rapidity and animation al- 
most too much for his strength. When all his inquiries were 
satisfied, and a pause took place, I told him I had learned with 
much pleasure that, since his return to America, he had been oc- 
cupied in preparing for the world the history of his own life. 
I cannot say much of that, said he ; but I will give you a sample 
of what I shall leave ; and he directed his little grandson (Wil- 
liam Bachc) who was standing by the bedside, to hand him a 
paper from the table, to which he pointed. He did so ; and the 
Doctor putting it into my hands, desired me to take it and read 
it at my leisure. It was about a quire of folio paper, written in 
a large and running hand, very like his own. I looked into it 
slightly, then shut it, and said I would accept his permission to 
read it, and would carefully return it. He said, " no, keep it." 
Not certain of his meaning, I again looked into it, folded it for 
my pocket, and said again, I would certainly return it. " No," 
said he, " keep it." I put it into my pocket, and shortly after 
took leave of him. He died on the 17th of the ensuing month 
of April ; and as I understood that he had bequeathed all his 
papers to his grandson, William Temple Franklin, I immediately 
wrote to Mr. Franklin, to inform him I possessed this paper, 
which I should consider as his property, and would deliver to 
his order. He came on immediately to New York, called on 
me for it, and I delivered it to him. As he put it into his 
pocket, he said carelessly, he had either the original, or another 
copy of it, I do not recollect which. This last expression struck 
my attention forcibly, and for the first time suggested to me the 
thought that Dr. Franklin had meant it as a confidential de- 
posit in my hands, and that I had done wrong in parting from 
it. I have not yet seen the collection he published of Dr. 
Franklin's works, and, therefore, know not if this is among 
them. I have been told it is not. It contained a narrative of 
the negotiations between Dr. Franklin and the British Ministry, 


when he was endeavoring to prevent the contest of arms which 
followed. The negotiation was brought ahout by the interven- 
tion of Lord Howe and his sister, who, I believe, was called 
Lady Howe, but I may misre member her title. Lord Howe 
seems to have been friendly to America, and exceedingly anx- 
ious to prevent a rupture. His intimacy with Dr. Franklin, and 
his position with the Ministry, induced him to undertake a me- 
diation between them ; in which his sister seemed to have been 
associated. They carried from one to the other, backwards and 
forwards, the several propositions and answers which passed, and 
seconded with their own intercessions, the importance of mutual 
sacrifices, to preserve the peace and connection of the two coun- 
tries. I remember that Lord North's answers were dry, un- 
yielding, in the spirit of unconditional submission, and betrayed 
an absolute indifference to the occurrence of a rupture ; and he 
said to the mediators distinctly, at last, that " a rebellion was not 
to be deprecated on the part of Great Britain ; that the confisca- 
tions it would produce would provide for many of their friends." 
This expression was reported by the mediators to Dr. Franklin, 
and indicated so cool and calculated a purpose in the Ministry, 
as to render compromise hopeless, and the negotiation was dis- 
continued. If this is not among the papers published, we ask, 
what has become of it ? I delivered it with my own hands, 
into those of Temple Franklin. It certainly established views 
so atrocious in the British government, that its suppression 
would, to them, be worth a great price. But could the grandson 
of Dr. Franklin be, in such degree, an accomplice in the parri- 
cide of the memory of his immortal grandfather ? The suspen- 
sion for more than twenty years of the general publication, be- 
queathed and confided to him, produced, for awhile, hard sus- 
picions against him ; and if, at last, all are not published, a part 
of these suspicions may remain with some. 

I arrived at New York on the 21st of March, where Congress 
was in session. 


[NOTE A.] 


Monticello, August 31, 1820. 


Your letter of the 19th was received in due time, and I wish 
it were in my power to furnish you more fully, than in the en- 
closed paper, with materials for the hiography of George Wythe ; 
but I possess none in writing, am very distant from the place of 
his birth and early life, and know not a single person in that 
quarter from whom inquiry could be made, with the expectation 
of collecting anything material. Add to this, that feeble health 
disables me, almost, from writing ; and entirely from the labor 
of going into difficult research. I became acquainted with Mr. 
Wythe when he was about thirty-five years of age. He directed 
my studies in the law, led me into business, and continued, until 
death, my most aifectionate friend. A close intimacy with him, 
during that period of forty odd years, the most important of his 
life, enables me to state its leading facts, which, being of my 
own knowledge, I vouch their truth. Of what precedes that 
period, I speak from hearsay only, in which there may be error, 
but of little account, as the character of the facts will themselves 
manifest. In the epoch of his birth, I may err a little, stating 
that from the recollection of a particular incident, the date of 
which, within a year or two, I do not distinctly remember. 
These scanty outlines you will be able, I hope, to fill up from 
other information, and they may serve you, sometimes, as land- 
marks to distinguish truth from error, in what you hear from 


others. The exalted virtue of the man will also be a polar star 
to guide you in all matters which may touch that element of his 
character. But on that you will receive imputation from no man ; 
for, as far as I know, he never had an enemy. Little as I am 
able to contribute to the jis; reputation of this excellent man, it 
is the act of my life most gratifying to my heart ; and leaves me 
only to regret that a waning memory can do no more. 

Of Mr. Hancock I can say nothing, having known him only 
in the chair of Congress. Having myself been the youngest 
man but one in that body, the disparity of age prevented any 
particular intimacy. But of him there can be no difficulty in 
obtaining full information in the North. 

I salute you, Sir, with sentiments of great respect, 



George Wythe was born about the year 1727, or 1728, of a 
respectable family in the County of Elizabeth City, on the shores 
of the Chesapeake. He inherited, from his father, a fortune suf- 
ficient for independence and ease. He had not the benefit of a 
regular education in the schools, but acquired a good one of him- 
self, and without assistance ; insomuch, as to become the best 
Latin and Greek scholar in the State. It is said, that while read- 
ing the Greek Testament, his mother held an English one, to aid 
him in rendering the Greek text conformably with that. He also 
acquired, by his own reading, a good knowledge of Mathematics, 
and of Natural and Moral Philosophy. He engaged in the study 
of the law under the direction of a Mr. Lewis, of that profession, 
and went early to the bar of the General Court, then occupied 
by men of great ability, learning, and dignity in their profession. 
He soon became eminent among them, and, in process of time, 
the first at the bar, taking into consideration his superior learn- 
ing, correct elocution, and logical style of reasoning ; for in plead- 
ing he never indulged himself with an useless or declamatory 
thought or word j and became as distinguished by correctness 


and purity of conduct in his profession, as he was by his indus- 
try and fidelity to those who employed him. He was early 
elected to the House of Representatives, then called the House 
of Burgesses, and continued in it until the Revolution. On the 
first dawn of that, instead of higgling on half-way principles, as 
others did who feared to follow their reason, he took his stand 
on the solid ground that the only link of political union between 
us and Great Britain, was the identity of our Executive ; that 
that nation and its Parliament had no more authority over us, 
than we had over them, and that we were co-ordinate nations 
with Great Britain and Hanover. 

In 1774, he was a member of a Committee of the House of 
Burgesses, appointed to prepare a Petition to the King, a Memo- 
rial to the House of Lords, and a Remonstrance to the House of 
Commons, on the subject of the proposed Stamp Act. He was 
made draughtsman of the last, and, following his own principles, 
he so far overwent the timid hesitations of his colleagues, that 
his draught was subjected by them to material modifications ; 
and, when the famous Resolutions of Mr. Henry, in 1775, were 
proposed, it was not on any difference of principle that they were 
opposed by Wythe, Randolph, Pendleton, Nicholas, Bland, and 
other worthies, who had long been the habitual leaders of the 
House ; but because those papers of the preceding session had 
already expressed the same sentiments and assertions of right, 
and that an answer to them was yet to be expected. 

In August, 1775, he was appointed a member of Congress, and 
in 1776, signed the Declaration of Independence, of which he 
had, in debate, been an eminent supporter. And subsequently, 
in the same year, he was appointed, by the Legislature of Vir- 
ginia, one of a Committee to revise the laws of the State, as well 
of British as of Colonial enactment, and to prepare bills for re- 
enacting them, with such alterations as the change in the form 
and principles of the government, and other circumstances, re- 
quired ; and of this work, he executed the period commencing 
with the revolution in England, and ending with the establish- 
ment of the new government here ; excepting the Acts for regu- 

VOL. i. 8 


lating descents, for religious freedom, and for proportioning crimes 
and punishments. In 1777, he was chosen Speaker of the House 
of Delegates, being of distinguished learning in Parliamentary 
law and proceedings ; and towards the end of the same year, he 
was appointed one of the three Chancellors, to whom that de- 
partment of the Judiciary was confided, on the first organization 
of the new government. On a subsequent change of the form 
of that court, he was appointed sole Chancellor, in which office 
he continued to act until his death, which happened in June, 
1806, about the seventy-eighth or seventy-ninth year of his age. 

Mr. Wythe had been twice married : first, I believe, to a daugh- 
ter of Mr. Lewis, with whom he had studied law, and afterwards 
to a Miss Taliaferro, of a wealthy and respectable family in the 
neighborhood of Williamsburg ; by neither of whom did he leave 

No man ever left behind him a character more venerated than 
George Wythe. His virtue was of the purest tint ; his integrity 
inflexible, and his justice exact ; of warm patriotism, and, de- 
voted as he was to liberty, and the natural and equal rights of 
man, he might truly be called the Cato of his country, without 
the avarice of the Roman ; for a more disinterested person never 
lived. Temperance and regularity in all his habits, gave him 
general good health, and his unaffected modesty and suavity of 
manners endeared him to every one. He was of easy elocution, 
his language chaste, methodical in the arrangement of his matter, 
learned and logical in the use of it, and of great urbanity in de- 
bate ; not quick of apprehension, but, with a little time, profound 
in penetration, and sound in conclusion. In his philosophy he 
was firm, and neither troubling, nor perhaps trusting, any one 
with his religious creed, he left the world to the conclusion, that 
that religion must be good which could produce a life of such 
exemplary virtue. 

His stature was of the middle size, well formed and propor- 
tioned, and the features of his face were manly, comely, and en- 
gaging. Such was George Wythe, the honor of his own, and 
the model of future times. 


[NOTE B.] 


Monticello, May 12, 1819. 


An absence of some time at an occasional and distant residence, 
must apologize for the delay in acknowledging the receipt of your 
favor of April 12 ; and, candor obliges me to add, that it has 
been somewhat extended by an aversion to writing, as well as to 
calls on my memory for facts so much obliterated from it by 
time, as to lessen my own confidence in the traces which seem 
to remain. One of the inquiries in your letter, however, may be 
answered without an appeal to the memory. It is that respect- 
ing the question, whether committees of correspondence origin- 
ated in Virginia, or Massachusetts ? on which you suppose me to 
have claimed it for Virginia ; but certainly I have never made 
such a claim. The idea, I suppose, has been taken up from what 
is said in Wirt's history of Mr. Henry, page 87, and from an in- 
exact attention to its precise terms. It is there said, " this House 
(of Burgessses, of Virginia) had the merit of originating that 
powerful engine of resistance, corresponding committees between 
the legislatures of the different colonies." That the fact, as here 
expressed, is true, your letter bears witness, when it says, that 
the resolutions of Virginia, for this purpose, were transmitted to 
the speakers of the different assemblies, and by that of Massa- 
chusetts, was laid, at the next session, before that body, who ap- 
pointed a committee for the specified object : adding, " thus, in 
Massachusetts, there were two committees of correspondence, one 
chosen by the people, the other appointed by the House of As- 
sembly ; in the former, Massachusetts preceded Virginia ; in the 
latter, Virginia preceded Massachusetts." To the origination of 
committees for the interior correspondence between the counties 
and towns of a State, I know of no claim on the part of Vir- 
ginia ; and certainly none was ever made by myself. I perceive, 
however, one error, into which memory had led me. Our com- 


mittee for national correspondence, was appointed in March, '73, 
and I well remember, that going to Williamsburg, in the month 
of June following, Peyton Randolph, our Chairman, told me that 
messengers bearing despatches between the two States, had 
crossed each other by the way, that of Virginia carrying our pro- 
positions for a committee of national correspondence, and that 
of Massachusetts, bringing, as my memory suggested, a similar 
proposition. But here I must have misremembered ; and the 
resolutions brought us from Massachusetts, were probably those 
you mention of the town-meeting of Boston, on the motion of 
Mr. Samuel Adams, appointing a committee " to state the rights 
of the colonists, and of that province in particular, and the in- 
fringements of them ; to communicate them to the several towns, 
as the sense of the town of Boston, and to request, of each town, 
a free communication of its sentiments on the subject." I sup- 
pose, therefore, that these resolutions were not received, as you 
think, while the House of Burgesses was in session in March, 
1773, but a few days after we rose, and were probably what was 
sent by the messenger, who crossed ours by the way. They 
may, however, have been still different. I must, therefore, have 
been mistaken in supposing, and stating to Mr. Wirt, that the 
proposition of a committee for national correspondence, was near- 
ly simultaneous in Virginia and Massachusetts. 

A similar misapprehension of another passage in Mr. Wirt's 
book, for which I am also quoted, has produced a similar recla- 
mation on the part of Massachusetts, by some of her most dis- 
tinguished and estimable citizens. I had been applied to by 
Mr. Wirt, for such facts respecting Mr. Henry, as my intimacy 
with him, and participation in the transactions of the day, might 
have placed within my knowledge. I accordingly committed 
them to paper ; and Virginia being the theatre of his action, 
was the only subject within my contemplation. While speak- 
ing of him, of the resolutions and measures here, in which he 
had the acknowledged lead, I used the expression, that " Mr. 
Henry certainly gave the first impulse to the ball of revolution." 
[Wirt, page 41.] The expression is indeed general, and in all 


its extension, would comprehend all the sister States ; but in- 
dulgent construction would restrain it, as was really meant, to 
the subject matter under contemplation, which was Virginia 
alone ; according to the rule of the lawyers, and a fair canon 
of general criticism, that every expression should be construed 
secundum subjectam materiam. Where the first attack was 
made, there must have been of course, the first act of resist- 
ance, and that was in Massachusetts. Our first overt act of 
war, was Mr. Henry's embodying a force of militia from seve- 
ral counties, regularly armed and organized, marching them in 
military array, and making reprisal on the King's treasury at the 
seat of government, for the public powder taken away by his 
Governor. This was on the last days of April, 1775. Your 
formal battle of Lexington, was ten or twelve days before that, 
and greatly overshadowed in importance, as it preceded in time, 
our little affray, which merely amounted to a levying of arms 
against the King ; and very possibly, you had had military af- 
frays before the regular battle of Lexington. 

These explanations will, I hope, assure you, Sir, that so far 
as either facts or opinions have been truly quoted from me, they 
have never been meant to intercept the just fame of Massachu- 
setts, for the promptitude and perseverance of her early resist- 
ance. We willingly cede to her the laud of having been (al- 
though not exclusively) "the cradle of sound principles," and, 
if some of us believe she has deflected from them in her course, 
we retain full confidence in her ultimate return to them. 

I will now proceed to your quotation from Mr. Galloway's 
statement of what passed in Congress, on their Declaration of 
Independence ; in which statement there is not one word of 
truth, and where bearing some resemblance to truth, it is an en- 
tire perversion of it. I do not charge this on Mr. Galloway 
himself ; his desertion having taken place long before these meas- 
ures, h* doubtless received his information from some of the 
loyal triends whom he left behind him. But as yourself, as 
well as others, appear embarrassed by inconsistent accounts of 
the proceedings on that memorable occasion, and as those who 


have endeavored to restore the truth, have themselves commit- 
ted some errors, I will give you some extracts from a written 
document on that subject ; for the truth of which I pledge my- 
self to heaven and earth ; having, while the question of Inde- 
pendence was under consideration before Congress, taken writ- 
ten notes, in my seat, of what was passing, and reduced them 
to form on the final conclusion. I have now before me that 
paper, from which the following are extracts. " Friday, June 
7th, 1776. The delegates from Virginia moved, in obedience 
to instructions from their constituents, that the Congress should 
declare that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, 
free and independent States ; that they are absolved from all al- 
legiance to the British crown, and that all political connection 
between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought 
to be totally dissolved ; that measures should be immediately 
taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Con- 
federation be formed to bind the colonies more closely together. 
The House, being obliged to attend at that time to some other 
business, the proposition was referred to the next day, when the 
members were ordered to attend punctually at ten o'clock. 
Saturday, June 8th. They proceeded to take it into considera- 
tion, and referred it to a committee of the whole, into which 
they immediately resolved themselves, and passed that day in 
debating on the subject. 

" It appearing in the course of these debates, that the colonies 
of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland 
and South Carolina, were not yet matured for falling from the 
parent stem, but that they were fast advancing to that state, it 
was thought most prudent to wait a while for them, and to post- 
pone the final decision to July 1st. But that this might occa- 
sion as little delay as possible, a Committee was appointed to 
prepare a Declaration of Independence. The Committee were 
John Adams, Dr. Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livings- 
ton and myself. This was reported to the House on Friday, the 
28th of June, when it was read and ordered to lie on the table. 
On Monday, the 1st of July, the House resolved itself into a 


Committee of the whole, and resumed the consideration of the 
original motion made by the delegates of Virginia, which, be- 
ing again debated through the day, was carried in the affirma- 
tive by the votes of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachu- 
setts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Caro- 
lina and Georgia. South Carolina and Pennsylvania voted 
against it. Delaware had but two members present, and they 
were divided. The delegates from New York declared they 
were for it themselves, and were assured their constituents were 
for it ; but that their instructions having been drawn near a 
twelvemonth before, when reconciliation was still the general 
object, they were enjoined by them, to do nothing which should 
impede that object. They, therefore, thought themselves not 
justifiable in voting on either side, and asked leave to with- 
draw from the question, which was given them. The Com- 
mittee rose, and reported their resolutions to the House. Mr. 
Rutledge, of South Carolina, then requested the determination 
might be put off to the next day, as he believed his colleagues, 
though they disapproved of the resolution, would then join in it 
for the sake of unanimity. The ultimate question, whether the 
House would agree to the resolution of the Committee, was ac- 
cordingly postponed to the next day, when it was again moved, 
and South Carolina concurred in voting for it. In the mean- 
time, a third member had come post from the Delaware coun- 
ties, and turned the vote of that colony in favor of the resolu- 
tion. Members of a different sentiment attending that morn- 
ing from Pennsylvania also, her vote was changed ; so that the 
whole twelve colonies, who were authorized to vote at all, gave 
their votes for it ; and within a few days [July 9th] the con- 
vention of New York approved of it, and this supplied the void 
occasioned by the withdrawing of their delegates from the 
vote." [Be careful to observe, that this vacillation and vote 
were on the original motion of the 7th of June, by the Virginia 
delegates, that Congress should declare the colonies independ- 
ent.] "Congress proceeded, the same day, to consider the 
Declaration of Independence, which had been reported and 


laid on the table the Friday preceding, and on Monday, referred 
to a Committee of the whole. The pusillanimous idea, that we 
had friends in England worth keeping terms with, still haunted 
the minds of many. For this reason, those passages which 
conveyed censures on the people of England were struck out, 
lest they should give them offence. The debates having taken 
up the greater parts of the second, third and fourth days of 
July, were, in the evening of the last, closed ; the Declaration 
was reported by the Committee, agreed to by the House, and 
signed by every member present except Mr. Dickinson." So 
far my notes. 

Governor M'Kean, in his letter to McCorkle of July 16th, 
1817, has thrown some lights on the transactions of that day ; 
but, trusting to his memory chiefly, at an age when our memo- 
ries are not to be trusted, he has confounded two questions, 
and ascribed proceedings to one which belonged to the other. 
These two questions were, 1st, the Virginia motion of June the 
7th, to declare Independence ; and 2d, the actual Declaration, its 
matter and form. Thus he states the question on the Declara- 
tion itself, as decided on the 1st of July ; but it was the Vir- 
ginia motion which was voted on that day in committee of the 
whole ; South Carolina, as well as Pennsylvania, then voting 
against it. Bat the ultimate decision in the House, on the re- 
port of the Committee, being, by request, postponed to the 
next morning, all the States voted for it, except New York, 
whose vote was delayed for the reason before stated. It was 
not till the 2d of July, that the Declaration itself was taken 
up ; nor till the 4th, that it was decided, and it was signed by 
every member present, except Mr. Dickinson. 

The subsequent sign itures of members who were not then 
present, and some of tl .m not yet in office, is easily explained, 
if we observe who the y were ; to wit, that they were of New 
York and Pennsylvania. New York did not sign till the 15th, 
because it was not till the 9th (five days after the general sig- 
nature), that their Convention authorized them to do so. The 
Convention of Pennsylvania, learning that it had been signed 


by a minority only of their delegates, named a new delegation 
on the 20th, leaving out Mr. Dickinson, who had refused to 
sign, Willing and Humphreys who had withdrawn, re-appoint- 
ing the three members who had signed, Morris, who had not 
been present, and five new ones, to wit, Rush, Clymer, Smith, 
Taylor and Ross : and Morris, and the five new members were 
permitted to sign, because it manifested the assent of their full 
delegation, and the express will of their Convention, which 
might have been doubted on the former signature of a minority 
only. Why the signature of Thornton, of New Hampshire, 
was permitted so late as the 4th of November, I cannot now 
say ; but undoubtedly for some particular reason, which we 
should find to have been good, had it been expressed. These 
were the only post-signers, and you see, Sir, that there were 
solid reasons for receiving those of New York and Pennsyl- 
vania, and that this circumstance in no wise affects the faith 
of this Declaratory Charter of our rights, and of the rights 
of man. 

With a view to correct errors of fact before they become in- 
veterate by repetition, I have stated what I find essentially mate- 
rial in my papers, but with that brevity, which the labor of writing 
constrains me to use. 

On the four particular articles of enquiry in your letter, respect- 
ing your grandfather, the venerable Samuel Adams, neither me- 
mory nor memorandums enable me to give any information. I 
can say that he was truly a great man, wise in council, fertile in 
resources, immoveable in his purposes, and had, I think, a greater 
share than any other member, in advising and directing our meas- 
ures, in the Northern war. As a speaker, he could not be com- 
pared with his living colleague and namesake, whose deep con- 
ceptions, nervous style, and undaunted firmness, made him truly 
our bulwark in debate. But Mr. Samuel Adams, although not of 
fluent elocution, was so rigorously logical, so clear in his views, 
abundant in good sense, and master always of his subject, that he 
commanded the most profound attention, whenever he rose in an 
assembly, by which the froth of declamation was heard with the 


most sovereign contempt. I sincerely rejoice, that the record of 
his worth is to be undertaken by one so much disposed as you 
will be, to hand him down fairly to that posterity for whose lib- 
erty and happiness he was so zealous a laborer. 

With sentiments of sincere veneration for his memory, accept 
yourself this tribute to it, with the assurance of my great respect. 

P. S. August 6th, 1822. Since the date of this letter, to-wit, 
this day, August 6, '22, I have received the new publication of 
the Secret Journals of Congress, wherein is stated a resolution of 
July 19th, 1T76, that the Declaration passed on the 4th, be fairly 
engrossed on parchment, and when engrossed, be signed by every 
member ; and another of August 2nd, that being engrossed and 
compared at the table, it was signed by the members ; that is to 
say, the copy engrossed on parchment (for durability) was signed 
by the members, after being compared at the table, with the ori- 
ginal one signed on paper as before stated. I add this P. S. to 
the copy of my letter to Mr. Wells, to prevent confounding the 
signature of the original with that of the copy engrossed on 

[NOTE C.] 

On the instructions given to the first delegation of Virginia to 
Congress, in August, 1774. 

The Legislature of Virginia happened to be in session, in Wil- 
liamsburg, when news was received of the passage, by the British 
Parliament, of the Boston Port Bill, which was to take effect on 
the first day of June then ensuing. The House of Burgesses, 
thereupon, passed a resolution, recommending to their fellow-citi- 
zens, that that day should be set apart for fasting and prayer to 
the Supreme Being, imploring him to avert the calamities then 
threatening us, and to give us one heart and one mind to oppose 
every invasion of our liberties. The next day, May the 20th, 


] 774, the Governor dissolved us. We immediately repaired to a 
room in the Raleigh tavern, about one hundred paces distant from 
the Capitol, formed ourselves into a meeting, Peyton Randolph in 
the chair, and came to resolutions, declaring, that an attack on one 
colony, to enforce arbitrary acts, ought to be considered as an at- 
tack on all, and to be opposed by the united wisdom of all. We, 
therefore, appointed a Committee of correspondence, to address 
letters to the Speakers of the several Houses of Representatives 
of the colonies, proposing the appointment of deputies from each, 
to meet annually in a General Congress, to deliberate on their 
common interests, and on the measures to be pursued in common. 
The members then separated to their several homes, except those 
of the Committee, who' met the next day, prepared letters ac- 
cording to instructions, and despatched them by messengers ex- 
press, to their several destinations. It had been agreed, also, by 
the meeting, that the Burgesses, who should be elected under 
the writs then issuing, should be requested to meet in Convention, 
on a certain day in August, to learn the results of these letters, 
and to appoint delegates to a Congress, should that measure be 
approved by the other colonies. At the election, the people re- 
elected every man of the former Assembly, as a proof of their ap- 
probation of what they had done. Before I left home, to attend 
the Convention, I prepared what I thought might be given, in 
instruction, to the Delegates who should be appointed to attend 
the General Congress proposed. They were drawn in haste, with 
a number of blanks, with some uncertainties and inaccuracies of 
historical facts, which I neglected at the moment, knowing they 
could be readily corrected at the meeting. I set out on my jour- 
ney, but was taken sick on the road, and was unable to proceed. 
I therefore sent on, by express, two copies, one under cover to 
Patrick Henry, the other to Peyton Randolph, who I knew would 
be in the chair of the Convention. Of the former, no more was 
ever heard or known. Mr. Henry probably thought it too bold, 
as a first measure, as the majority of the members did. On the 
other copy being laid on the table of the Convention, by Peyton 
Randolph, as the proposition of a member, who was prevented 


from attendance by sickness on the road, tamer sentiments were 
preferred, and, I believe, wisely preferred ; the leap I proposed 
being too long, as yet, for the mass of our citizens. The distance 
between these, and the instructions actually adopted, is of some 
curiosity, however, as it shews the inequality of pace with which 
we moved, and the prudence required to keep front and rear to- 
gether. My creed had been formed on unsheathing the sword at 
Lexington. They printed the paper, however, and gave it the 
title of 'A summary view of the rights of British America.' In 
this form it got to London, where the opposition took it up, shaped 
it to opposition views, and, in that form, it ran rapidly through 
several editions. 

Mr. Marshall, in his history of General Washington, chapter 3, 
speaking of this proposition for Committees of correspondence 
and for a General Congress, says, ' this measure had already been 
proposed in town meeting, in Boston,' and some pages before, he 
had said, that ' at a session of the General Court of Massachusetts, 
in September, 1770, that Court, in pursuance of a favorite idea 
of uniting all the colonies in one system of measures, elected a 
Committee of correspondence, to communicate with such Com- 
mittees as might be appointed by the other colonies.' This is an 
error. The Committees of correspondence, elected by Massachu- 
setts, were expressly for a correspondence among the several towns 
of that province only. Besides the text of their proceedings, his 
own note X, proves this. The first proposition for a general cor- 
respondence between the several states, ancj. for a General Con- 
gress, was made by our meeting of May, 1774. Botta, copying 
Marshall, has repeated his error, and so it will be handed on from 
copyist to copyist, ad iiifinitum. Here follows my proposition, 
and the more prudent one which was adopted. 

Resolved, That it be an instruction to the said deputies, when 
assembled in General Congress, with the deputies from the other 
states of British America, to propose to the said Congress, that an 
humble and dutiful address be presented to his Majesty, begging 
leave to lay before him, as Chief Magistrate of the British empire, 
the united complaints of his Majesty's subjects in America ; com- 


plaints which are excited by many unwarrantable encroachments 
and usurpations, attempted to be made by the legislature of one 
part of the empire, upon the rights which God, and the laws, 
have given equally and independently to all. To represent to 
his Majesty that these, his States, have often individually made 
humble application to his imperial Throne, to obtain, through its 
intervention, some redress of their injured rights; to none of 
which, was ever even an answer condescended. Humbly to hope 
that this, their joint address, penned in the language of truth, and 
divested of those expressions of servility, which would persuade 
his Majesty that we are asking favors, and not rights, shall obtain 
from his Majesty a more respectful acceptance ; and this his Ma- 
jesty will think we have reason to expect, when he reflects that 
he is no more than the chief officer of the people, appointed by. 
the laws, and circumscribed with definite powers, to assist in 
working the great machine of government, erected for their use, 
and, consequently, subject to their superintendence ; and, in. order 
that these, our rights, as well as the invasions of them, may be 
laid more fully before his Majesty, to take a view of them, from 
the origin and first settlement of these countries. 

To remind him that our ancestors, before their emigration to 
America, were the free inhabitants of the British dominions in 
Europe, and possessed a right, which nature has given to all men, 
of departing from the country in which chance, not choice, has 
placed them, of going in quest of new habitations, and of there 
establishing new societies, under such laws and regulations as, to 
them, shall seem most likely to promote public happiness. That 
their Saxon ancestors had, under this universal law, in like man- 
ner, left their native wilds and woods in the North of Europe, had 
possessed themselves of the Island of Britain, then less charged 
with inhabitants, and had established there that system of laws 
which has so long been the glory and protection of that country. 
Nor was ever any claim of superiority or dependence asserted 
over them, by that mother country from which they had migra- 
ted : and were such a claim made, it is believed his Majesty's 
subjects in Great Britain have too firm a feeling of the rights de- 


rived to them from their ancestors, to bow down the sovereignty 
of their state before such visionary pretensions. And it is thought 
that no circumstance has occurred to distinguish, materially, the 
British from the Saxon emigration. America was conquered, and 
her settlements made and firmly established, at the expense of in- 
dividuals, and not of the British public. Their own blood was spilt 
in acquiring lands for their settlement, their own fortunes expended 
in making that settlement effectual. For themselves they fought, 
for themselves they conquered, and for themselves alone they 
have right to hold. No shilling was ever issued from the public 
treasures of his Majesty, or his ancestors, for their assistance, till 
of very late times, after the colonies had become established on a 
firm and permanent footing. That then, indeed, having become 
valuable to Great Britain for her commercial purposes, his Parlia- 
ment was pleased to lend them assistance against an enemy who 
would fain have drawn to herself the benefits of their commerce, 
to the great aggrandisement of herself, and danger of Great 
Britain. Such assistance, and in such circumstances, they had 
often before given to Portugal and other allied states, with whom 
they carry on a commercial intercourse. Yet these states never 
supposed, that by calling in her aid, they thereby submitted them- 
selves to her sovereignty. Had such terms been proposed, they 
would have rejected them with disdain, and trusted for better, to 
the moderation of their enemies, or to a vigorous exertion of their 
own force. We do not, however, mean to underrate those aids, 
which, to us, were doubtless valuable, on whatever principles 
granted : but we would shew that they cannot give a title to that 
authority which the British Parliament would arrogate over us ; 
and that may amply be repaid by our giving to the inhabitants 
of Great Britain such exclusive privileges in trade as may be ad- 
vantageous to them, and, at the same time, not too restrictive to 
ourselves. That settlement having been thus effected in the 
wilds of America, the emigrants thought proper to adopt that sys- 
tem of laws, under which they had hitherto lived in the mother 
country, and to continue their union with her, by submitting 
themselves to the same common sovereign, who was thereby 


made the central link, connecting the several parts of the empire 
thus newly multiplied. 

But that not long were they permitted, however far they thought 
themselves removed from the hand of oppression, to hold undis- 
turbed the rights thus acquired at the hazard of their lives and 
loss of their fortunes. A family of Princes was then on the Brit- 
ish throne, whose treasonable crimes against their people, brought 
on them, afterwards, the exertion of those sacred and sovereign 
rights of punishment, reserved in the hands of the people for cases 
of extreme necessity, and judged by the constitution unsafe to be 
delegated to any other judicature. While every day brought forth 
some new and unjustifiable exertion of power over their subjects 
on that side of the water, it was not to be expected that those here, 
much less able at that time to oppose the designs of despotism, 
should be exempted from injury. Accordingly, this country which 
had been acquired by the lives, the labors, and fortunes of indi- 
vidual adventurers, was by these Princes, several times, parted out 
and distributed among the favorites and followers of their for- 
tunes ; and, by an assumed right of the Crown alone, were erected 
into distinct and independent governments ; a measure, which it is 
believed, his Majesty's prudence and understanding would prevent 
him from imitating at this day ; as no exercise of such power, of 
dividing and dismembering a country, has ever occurred in his 
Majesty's realm of England, though now of very ancient stand- 
ing ; nor could it be justified or acquiesced under there, or in any 
part of his Majesty's empire. 

That the exercise of a free trade with all parts of the world, 
possessed by the American colonists, as of natural right, and which 
no law of their own had taken away or abridged, was next the ob- 
ject of unjust encroachment. Some of the colonies having thought 
proper to continue the administration of their government in the 
name and under the authority of his Majesty, King Charles the 
first, whom, notwithstanding his late deposition by the Common- 
wealth of England, they continued in the sovereignty of their State, 
the Parliament, for the Commonwealth, took the same in high 
offence, and assumed upon themselves the power of prohibiting 


their trade with all other parts of the world, except the Island of 
Great Britain. This arbitrary act, however, they soon recalled, 
and by solemn treaty entered into on the 12th day of March, 1651, 
between the said Commonwealth, by their Commissioners, and the 
colony of Virginia by their House of Burgesses, it was expressly 
stipulated by the eighth article of the said treaty, that they should 
have ' free trade as the people of England do enjoy to all places 
and with all nations, according to the laws of that Commonwealth.' 
But that, upon the restoration of his Majesty, King Charles the 
second, their rights of free commerce fell once more a victim to 
arbitrary power ; and by several acts of his reign, as well as of 
some of his successors, the trade of the colonies was laid under 
such restrictions, as show what hopes they might form from the 
justice of a British Parliament, were its uncontrolled power ad- 
mitted over these States.* History has informed us, that bodies 
of men as well as of individuals, are susceptible of the spirit of ty- 
ranny. A view of these acts of Parliament for regulation, as it has 
been affectedly called, of the American tradp, if all other evidences 
were removed out of the case, would undeniably evince the truth 
of this observation. Besides the duties they impose on our arti- 
cles of export and import, they prohibit our going to any markets 
Northward of Cape Finisterra, in the kingdom of Spain, for the 
sale of commodities which Great Britain will not take from us, and 
for the purchase of others, with which she cannot supply us ; and 
that, for no other than the arbitrary purpose of purchasing for 
themselves, by a sacrifice of our rights and interests, certain privi- 
leges in their commerce with an allied state, who, in confidence, 
that their exclusive trade with America will be continued, while 
the principles and power of the British Parliament be the same, 
have indulged themselves in every exorbitance which their avarice 
could dictate or our necessity extort : have raised their commod- 
ities called for in America, to the double and treble of what they 
sold for, before such exclusive privileges were given them, and of 
what better commodities of the same kind would cost us else- 

* 12. C. 2. c. 18. 15. C. 2. c. 11. 25. C. 2. c. 7. 7. 8. W. M. c. 22. 11. W. 34 
Anne. 6. C. 2. c. 13. 


where ; and, at the same time, give us much less for what we carry 
thither, than might be had at more convenient ports. That these 
acts prohibit us from carrying, in quest of other purchasers, the sur- 
plus of our tobaccos, remaining after the consumption of Great 
Britain is supplied : so that we must leave them with the British 
merchant, for whatever he will please to allow us, to be by him 
re-shipped to foreign markets, where he will reap the benefits of 
making sale of them for full value. That, to heighten still the idea 
of Parliamentary justice, and to show with what moderation they 
are like to exercise power, where themselves are to feel no part 
of its weight, we take leave to mention to his Majesty, certain 
other acts of the British Parliament, by which they would prohibit 
us from manufacturing, for our own use, the articles we raise on 
our own lands, with our own labor. By an act passed in the fifth 
year of the reign of his late Majesty, King George the second, an 
American subject is forbidden to make a hat for himself, of the 
fur which he has taken, perhaps, on his own soil ; an instance of 
despotism, to which no parallel can be produced in the most arbi- 
trary ages of British history. By one other act, passed in the 
twenty-third year of the same reign, the iron which we make, we 
are forbidden to manufacture ; and, heavy as that article is, and 
necessary in every branch of husbandry, besides commission and 
insurance, we are to pay freight for it to Great Britain, and freight 
for it back again, for the purpose of supporting, not men, but ma- 
chines, in the island of Great Britain. In the same spirit of equal 
and impartial legislation, is to be viewed the act of Parliament, 
passed in the fifth year of the same reign, by which American 
lands are made subject to the demands of British creditors, while 
their own lands were still continued unanswerable for their debts ; 
from which, one of these conclusions must necessarily follow, 
either that justice is not the same thing in America as in Britain, 
or else, that the British Parliament pay less regard to it here than 
there. But, that we do not point out to his Majesty the injustice 
of these acts, with intent to rest on that principle the cause of 
their nullity ; but to show that experience confirms the propriety of 
those political principles, which exempt us from the jurisdiction 
VOL. i. 9 


of the British Parliament. The true ground on which we declare 
these acts void, is, that the British Parliament has no right to ex- 
ercise authority over us. 

That these exercises of usurped power have not been confined 
to instances alone, in which themselves were interested ; but they 
have also intermeddled with the regulation of the internal affairs 
of the colonies. The act of the 9th of Anne for establishing a 
post office in America, seems to have had little connection with 
British convenience, except that of accommodating his Majesty's 
ministers and favorites with the sale of a lucrative and easy office. 

That thus have we hastened through the reigns which preceded 
his Majesty's, during which the violation of our rights were less 
alarming, because repeated at more distant intervals, than that 
rapid and bold succession of injuries, which is likely to distinguish 
the present from all other periods of American story. Scarcely 
have our minds been able to emerge from the astonishment into 
which one stroke of Parliamentary thunder has involved us, before 
another more heavy and more alarming is fallen on us. Single 
acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a 
day ; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, 
and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too 
plainly prove a deliberate, systematical plan of reducing us to 

Act for ^ranting That the act passed in the fourth year of his Ma- 
terial n duties. * 

jesty's reign, entitled ' an act 
stamp act. One other act passed in the fifth year of his reign, 

entitled ' an act 
Act declaring One other act passed in the sixth year of his reign, 

the right of Par- * 

liament over the entitled 'ail act 


Act for granting And one other act passed in the seventh year of 

duties on paper, . 

tea,& c . his reign, entitled 'an act 

Form that connected chain of Parliamentary usur- 
pation, which has already been the subject of fre- 
quent applications to his Majesty, and the Houses of 
Lords and Commons of Great Britain ; and, no an- 
swers having yet been condescended to any of these, 


we shall not trouble his Majesty with a repetition of 
the matters they contained. 

But that one other act passed in the same seventh Act suspending 

legislature of 

year of his reign, having been a peculiar attempt, New-York, 
must ever require peculiar mention. It is entitled 
1 an act 

One free and independent legislature, hereby takes upon itself 
to suspend the powers of another, free and independent as itself. 
Thus exhibiting a phenomenon unknown in nature, the creator, 
and creature of its own power. Not only the principles of com- 
mon sense, but the common feelings of human nature must be 
surrendered up, before his Majesty's subjects here, can be persua- 
ded to believe, that they hold their political existence at the will 
of a British Parliament. Shall these governments be dissolved, 
their property annihilated, and their people reduced to a state of 
nature, at the imperious breath of a body of men whom they 
never saw, in whom they never confided, and over whom they 
have no powers of punishment or removal, let their crimes against 
the American public be ever so great ? Can any one reason be 
assigned, why one hundred and sixty thousand electors in the 
island of Great Britain, should give law to four millions in the 
States of America, every individual of whom is equal to every 
individual of them in virtue, in understanding, and in bodily 
strength ? Were this to be admitted, instead of being a free peo- 
ple, as we have hitherto supposed, and mean to continue ourselves, 
we should suddenly be found the slaves, not of one, but of one 
hundred and sixty thousand tyrants ; distinguished, too, from all 
others, by this singular circumstance, that they are removed from 
the reach of fear, the only restraining motive which may hold 
the hand of a tyrant. 

That, by ; an act to discontinue in such manner, and for such 
time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading 
or shipping of goods, wares and merchandize, at the town and 
within the harbor of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts 
bay, in North America,'* which was past at the last session of the 

* H. G. 3. 


British Parliament, a large and populous town, whose trade was 
their sole subsistence, was deprived of that trade, and involved in 
utter ruin. Let us for a while, suppose the question of right sus- 
pended, in order to examine this act on principles of justice. An 
act of Parliament had been passed, imposing duties on teas, to be 
paid in America, against which act the Americans had protested, 
as inauthoritative. The East India Company, who till that time, 
had never sent a pound of tea to America on their own account, 
step forth on that occasion, the asserters of Parliamentary right, 
and send hither many ship loads of that obnoxious commodity. 
The masters of their several vessels, however, on their arrival in 
America, wisely attended to admonition, and returned with their 
cargoes. In the province of New-England alone, the remon- 
strances of the people were disregarded, and a compliance, after 
being many days waited for, was flatly refused. Whether in this, 
the master of the vessel was governed by his obstinacy, or his in- 
structions, let those who know, say. There are extraordinary 
situations which require extraordinary interposition. An exaspe- 
rated people, who feel that they possess power, are not easily re- 
strained within limits strictly regular. A number of them assem- 
bled in the town of Boston, threw the tea into the ocean, and 
dispersed without doing any other act of violence. If in this they 
did wrong, they were known, and were amenable to the laws of 
the land ; against which, it could not be objected, that they had 
ever, in any instance, been obstructed or diverted from the regu- 
lar course, in favor of popular offenders. They should, therefore, 
not have been distrusted on this occasion. But that ill-fated 
colony had formerly been bold in their enmities against the House 
of Stuart, and were now devcted to ruin, by that unseen hand 
which governs the momentous affairs of this great empire. On 
the partial representations of a few worthless ministerial depend- 
ants, whose constant office it has been to keep that government 
embroiled, and who, by their treacheries, hope to obtain the dig- 
nity of British knighthood, without calling for a party accused, 
without asking a proof, without attempting a distinction between 
the guilty and the innocent, the whole of that ancient and 


wealthy town, is in a moment reduced from opulence to beggary. 
Men who had spent their lives in extending the British commerce, 
who had invested, in that place, the wealth their honest endeav- 
ors had merited, found themselves and their families, thrown at 
once on the world, for subsistence by its charities. Not the hun- 
dredth part of the inhabitants of that town, had been concerned 
in the act complained of ; many of them were in Great Britain, 
and in other parts beyond sea ; yet all were involved in one in- 
discriminate ruin, by a new executive power, unheard of till then, 
that of a British Parliament. A property of the value of many 
millions of money, was sacrificed to revenge, not repay, the loss 
of a few thousands. This is administering justice with a heavy 
hand indeed ! And when is this tempest to be arrested in its 
course ? Two wharves are to be opened again when his Majesty 
shall think proper: the residue, which lined the extensive shores 
of the bay of Boston, are forever interdicted the exercise of com- 
merce. This little exception seems to have been thrown in for 
no other purpose, than that of setting a precedent for investing his 
Majesty with legislative powers. If the pulse of his people shall 
beat calmly under this experiment, another and another will be 
tried, till the measure of despotism be filled up. It would be an 
insult on common sense, to pretend that this exception was made, 
in order to restore its commerce to that great town. The trade, 
which cannot be received at two wharves alone, must of neces- 
sity be transferred to some other place ; to which it will soon be 
followed by that of the two wharves. Considered in this light, 
it would be an insolent and cruel mockery at the annihilation of 
the town of Boston. By the act for the suppression of riots 
and tumults in the town of Boston,* passed also in the last ses- 
sion of Parliament, a murder committed there, is, if the Governor 
pleases, to be tried in the court of King's bench, in the island of 
Great Britain, by a jury of Middlesex. The witnesses, too, on 
receipt of such a sum as the Governor shall think it reasonable 
for them to expend, are to enter into recognizance to appear at 
the trial. This is, in other words, taxing them to the amount of 

* 14. G. 3. 


their recognizance ; and that amount may be whatever a Gover- 
nor pleases. For who does his Majesty think can be prevailed 
on to cross the Atlantic for the sole purpose of bearing evidence 
to a fact ? His expenses are to be borne, indeed, as they shall be 
estimated by a Governor; but who are to feed the wife and 
children whom he leaves behind, and who have had no other 
subsistence but his daily labor ? Those epidemical disorders, too, 
so terrible in a foreign climate, is the cure of them to be estimated 
among the articles of expense, and their danger to be warded off 
by the Almighty power of a Parliament? And the wretched 
criminal, if he happen to have offended on the American side, 
stripped of his privilege of trial by peers of his vicinage, removed 
from the place where alone full evidence could be obtained, with- 
out money, without counsel, without friends, without exculpatory 
proof, is tried before Judges predetermined to condemn. The 
cowards who would suffer a countryman to be torn from the 
bowels of their society, in order to be thus offered a sacrifice to 
Parliamentary tyranny, would merit that everlasting infamy now 
fixed on the authors of the act ! A clause, for a similar purpose, 
had been introduced into an act passed in the twelfth year of his 
Majesty's reign, entitled, ' an act for the better securing and pre- 
serving his Majesty's Dock-yards, Magazines, Ships, Ammunition 
and Stores ;' against which, as meriting the same censures, the 
several colonies have already protested. 

That these are the acts of power, assumed by a body of men 
foreign to our constitutions, and unacknowledged by our laws ; 
against which we do, on behalf of the inhabitants of British 
America, enter this, our solemn and determined protest. And we 
do earnestly intreat his Majesty, as yet the only mediatory power 
between the several States of the British empire, to recommend 
to his Parliament of Great Britain, the total revocation of these 
acts, which, however nugatory they may be, may yet prove the 
cause of further discontents and jealousies among us. 

That we next proceed to consider the conduct of his Majesty, 
as holding the Executive powers of the laws of these States, and 
mark out his deviations from the line of duty. By the Constitu- 


tion of Great Britain, as well as of the several American States, 
his Majesty possesses the power of refusing to pass into a law, 
any bill which has already passed the other two branches of the 
legislature. His Majesty, however, and his ancestors, conscious 
of the impropriety of opposing their single opinion to the united 
wisdom of two Houses of Parliament, while their proceedings 
were unbiassed by interested principles, for several ages past, have 
modestly declined the exercise of this power, in that part of his 
empire called Great Britain. But, by change of circumstances, 
other principles than those of justice simply, have obtained an 
influence on their determinations. The addition of new States 
to the British empire has produced an addition of new, and, 
sometimes, opposite interests. It is now, therefore, the great 
office of his Majesty to resume the exercise of his negative 
power, and to prevent the passage of laws by any one legislature 
of the empire, which might bear injuriously on the rights and in- 
terests of another. Yet this will not excuse the wanton exercise 
of this power, which we have seen his Majesty practice on the 
laws of the American legislature. For the most trifling reasons, 
and, sometimes for no conceivable reason at all, his Majesty has 
rejected lawsj^f the most salutary tendency. The abolition of 
domestic slavery is the great object of desire in those colonies, 
where it was, unhappily, introduced in their infant state. But 
previous to the enfranchisement of the slaves we have, it is ne- 
cessary to exclude all further importations from Africa. Yet our 
repeated attempts to effect this, by prohibitions, and by imposing 
duties which might amount to a prohibition, having been hitherto 
defeated by his Majesty's negative : thus preferring the imme- 
diate advantages of a few British cofsairs, to the lasting interests 
of the American States, and to the rights of human nature, c 
deeply wounded by this infamous practice. Nay, the single in- 
terposition of an interested individual against a law was scarcely 
ever known to fail of success, though, in the opposite scale, were 
placed the interests of a whole country. That this is so shame- 
ful an abuse of a power, trusted with his Majesty for other pur- 
poses, as if, not reformed, would call for some legal restrictions. 


With equal inattention to the necessities of his people here, 
has his Majesty permitted our laws to lie neglected, in England, 
for years, neither confirming them by his assent, nor annulling 
them hy his negative : so, that such of them as have no sus- 
pending clause, we hold on the most precarious of all tenures, 
his Majesty's will ; and such of them as suspend themselves till 
his Majesty's assent be obtained, we have feared might be called 
into existence at some future and distant period, when time and 
change of circumstances shall have rendered them destructive 
to his people here. And, to render this grievance still more 
oppressive, his Majesty, by his instructions, has laid his Gov- 
ernors under such restrictions, that they can pass no law, of any 
moment, unless it have such suspending clause : so that, how- 
ever immediate may be the call for legislative interposition, the 
law cannot be executed, till it has twice crossed the Atlantic, by 
which time the evil may have spent its whole force. 

But in what terms reconcilable to Majesty, and at the same 
time to truth, shall we speak of a late instruction to his Majesty's 
Governor of the colony of Virginia, by which he is forbidden to 
assent to any law for the division of a county, unless the new 
county will consent to have no representative in Assembly? 
That colony has as yet affixed no boundary to the Westward. 
Their Western counties, therefore, are of an indefinite extent. 
Some of them are actually seated many hundred miles from their 
Eastern limits. Is it possible, then, that his Majesty can have 
bestowed a single thought on the situation of those people, who 
in order to obtain justice for injuries, however great or small, 
must, by the laws of that colony, attend their county court at 
such a distance, with all their witnesses, monthly, till their liti- 
gation be determined? Or does his Majesty seriously wish, 
and publish it to the world, that his subjects should give up the 
glorious right of representation, with all the benefits derived from 
that, and submit themselves the absolute slaves of his sovereign 
will ? Or is it rather meant to confine the legislative body to 
their present numbers, that they may be the cheaper bargain, 
whenever they shall become worth a purchase ? 


One of the articles of impeachment against Tresilian, and the 
other Judges of Westminster Hall, in the reign of Richard the 
Second, for which they suffered death, as traitors to their coun- 
try, was, that they had advised the King, that he might dissolve 
his Parliament at any time ; and succeeding kings have adopted 
the opinion of these unjust Judges. Since the establishment, 
however, of the British constitution, at the glorious Revolution, 
on its free and ancient principles, neither his Majesty, nor his 
ancestors, have exercised such a power of dissolution in the 
island of Great Britain ;* and when his Majesty was petitioned, 
by the united voice of his people there, to dissolve the present 
Parliament, who had become obnoxious to them, his Ministers 
were heard to declare, in open Parliament, that his Majesty pos- 
sessed no such power by the constitution. But how different 
their language, and his practice, here ! To declare, as their duty 
required, the known rights of their country, to oppose the usurp- 
ation of every foreign judicature, to disregard the imperious 
mandates of a Minister or Governor, have been the avowed 
causes of dissolving Houses of Representatives in America. But 
if such powers be really vested in his Majesty, can he suppose 
they are there placed to awe the members from such purposes as 
these ? When the representative body have lost the confidence 
of their constituents, when they have notoriously made sale of 
their most valuable rights, when they have assumed to them- 
selves powers which the people never put into their hands, then, 
indeed, their continuing in office becomes dangerous to the State, 
and calls for an exercise of the power of dissolution. Such being 
the cause for which the representative body should, and should 
not, be dissolved, will it not appear strange, to an unbiassed 
observer, that that of Great Britain was not dissolved, while 
those of the colonies have repeatedly incurred f hat sentence ? 

But your Majesty, or your Governors, have carried this power 

* On further inquiry, I find two instances of dissolutions before the Parliament 
would, of itself, have been at an end : viz., the Parliament called to meet August 24, 
1698, was dissolved by King William, December 19, 1700, and a new one called, to 
meet February 6, 1701, which was also dissolved, November 11, 1701, and a new 
one met December 30, 1701. 


beyond every limit known or provided for by the laws. Aftei 
dissolving one House of Representatives, they have refused to 
call another, so that, for a great length of time, the legislature 
provided by the laws, has been out of existence. From the na- 
ture of things, every society must, at all times, possess within 
itself the sovereign powers of legislation. The feelings of hu- 
man nature revolt against the supposition of a State so situated, 
as that it may not, in any emergency, provide against dangers 
which, perhaps, threaten immediate ruin. While those bodies 
are in existence to whom the people have delegated the powers 
of legislation, they alone possess, and may exercise, those powers. 
But when they are dissolved, by the lopping off one or more of 
their branches, the power reverts to the people, who may use it 
to unlimited extent, either assembling together in person, sending 
deputies, or in any other way they may think proper. We for- 
bear to trace consequences further ; the dangers are conspicuous 
with which this practice is replete. 

That we shall, at this time also, take notice of an error in the 
nature of our land holdings, which crept in at a very early period 
of our settlement. The introduction of the Feudal tenures into 
the kingdom of England, though ancient, is well enough under- 
stood to set this matter in a proper light. In the earlier ages of 
the Saxon settlement, feudal holdings were certainly altogether 
unknown, and very few, if any, had been introduced at the time 
of the Norman conquest. Our Saxon ancestors held their lands, 
as they did their personal property, in absolute dominion, disin- 
cumbered with any superior, answering nearly to the nature of 
those possessions which the Feudalist term Allodial. William 
the Norman, first introduced that system generally. The lands 
which had belonged to those who fell in the battle of Hastings, 
and in the subsequent insurrections of his reign, formed a consid- 
erable proportion of the lands of the whole kingdom. These he 
granted out, subject to feudal duties, as did he also those of 
a great number of his new subjects, who, by persuasions or 
threats, were induced to surrender them for that purpose. But 
still, much was left in the hands of his Saxon subjects, held of 


no superior, and not subject to feudal conditions. These, 
therefore, by express laws, enacted to render uniform the sys- 
tem of military defence, were made liable to the same military 
duties as if they had been feuds ; and the Norman lawyers soon 
found means to saddle them, also, with the other feudal bur- 
thens. But still they had not been surrendered to the King, 
they were not derived from his grant, and therefore they were 
not holden of him. A general principle was introduced, that 
" all lands in England were held either mediately or immedi- 
ately of the Crown ;" but this was borrowed from those hold- 
ings which were truly feudal, and only applied to others for 
the purposes of illustration. Feudal holdings were, therefore, 
but exceptions out of the Saxon laws of possession, under 
which all lands were held in absolute right. These, therefore, 
still form the basis or groundwork of the Common law, to 
prevail wheresoever the exceptions have not taken place. 
America was not conquered by William the Norman, nor its 
lands surrendered to him or any of his successors. Possessions 
there are, undoubtedly, of the Allodial nature. Our ancestors, 
however, who migrated hither, were laborers, not lawyers. 
The fictitious principle, that all lands belong originally to the 
King, they were early persuaded to believe real, and accord- 
ingly took grants of their own lands from the Crown. And 
while the Crown continued to grant for small sums and on 
reasonable rents, there was no inducement to arrest the error, 
and lay it open to public view. But his Majesty has lately \ 
taken on him to advance the terms of purchase and of holding, | 
to the double of what they were ; by which means, the acqui- 
sition of lands being rendered difficult, the population of our 
country is likely to be checked. It is time, therefore, for us to \ 
lay this matter before his Majesty, and to declare, that he has 
no right to grant lands of himself. From the nature and pur- 
pose of civil institutions, all the lands within the limits, which 
any particular party has circumscribed around itself, are assumed 
by that society, and subject to their allotment ; this may be 
done by themselves assembled collectively, or by their legisla- 


ture, to whom they may have delegated sovereign authority , 
and, if they are allotted in neither of these ways, each indivi- 
dual of the society, may appropriate to himself such lands as he 
finds vacant, and occupancy will give him title. 

That, in order to enforce the arbitrary measures before com- 
plained of, his Majesty has, from time to time, sent among us 
large bodies of armed forces, not made up of the people here, 
nor raised by the authority of our laws. Did his Majesty pos- 
sess such a right as this, it might swallow up all our other rights, 
whenever he should think proper. But his Majesty has no 
right to land a single armed man on our shores ; and those 
whom he sends here are liable to our laws, for the suppression 
and punishment of riots, routs, and unlawful assemblies, or 
are hostile bodies invading us in defiance of law. When, in 
the course of the late war, it became expedient that a body of 
Hanoverian troops should be brought over for the defence of 
Great Britain, his Majesty's grandfather, our late sovereign, did 
not pretend to introduce them under any authority he possessed. 
.Such a measure would have given just alarm to his subjects of 
Great Britain, whose liberties would not be safe if armed men 
of another country, and of another spirit, might be brought 
into the realm at any time, without the consent of their legisla- 
ture. He, therefore, applied to Parliament, who passed an act 
for that purpose, limiting the number to be brought in, and the 
time they were to continue. In like manner is his Majesty re- 
strained in every part of the empire. He possesses indeed the 
executive power of the laws in every State ; but they are the 
laws of the particular State, which he is to administer within 
that State, and not those of any one within the limits of an- 
another. Every State must judge for itself, the number of 
armed men which they may safely trust among them, of whom 
they are to consist, and under what restrictions they are to be 
laid. To render these proceedings still more criminal against 
our laws, instead of subjecting the military to the civil power, 
his majesty has expressly made the civil subordinate to the mili- 
tary. But can his Majesty thus put down all law under his 


feet ? Can he erect a power superior to that which erected 
himself ? He has done it indeed by force ; but let him remem- 
ber that force cannot give right. 

That these are our grievances, which we have thus laid be- 
fore his Majesty, with that freedom of language and sentiment 
which becomes a free people, claiming their rights as derived 
from the laws of nature> and not as the gift of their Chief Ma- 
gistrate. Let those flatter, who fear : it is not an American 
art. To give praise where it is not due might be well from 
the venal, but would ill beseem those who are asserting the 
rights of human nature. They know, and will, therefore, say, 
that Kings are the servants, not the proprietors of the people. 
Open your breast, Sire, to liberal and expanded thought. Let 
not the name of George the third, be a blot on the page of his- 
tory. You are surrounded by British counsellors, but remem- 
ber that they are parties. You have no ministers for American 
affairs, because you have none taken from among us, nor ame- 
nable to the laws on which they are to give you advice. It 
behoves you, therefore, to think and to act for yourself and 
your people. The great principles of right and wrong are 
legible to every reader ; to pursue them, requires not the aid of 
many counsellors. The whole art of government consists in 
the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and man- 
kind will give you credit where you fail. No longer persevere 
in sacrificing the rights of one part of the empire to the inor- 
dinate desires of another ; but deal out to all, equal and im- 
partial right. Let no act be passed by any one legislature, 
which may infringe on the rights and liberties of another. 
This is the important post in which fortune has placed you, 
holding the balance of a great, if a well-poised empire. This, 
Sire, is the advice of your great American council, on the ob- 
servance of which may perhaps depend your felicity and fu- 
ture fame, and the preservation of that harmony which alone 
can continue, both to Great Britain and America, the reciprocal 
advantages of their connection. It is neither our wish nor our 
interest to separate from her. We are willing, on our part, to 


sacrifice everything which reason can ask, to the restoration of 
that tranquillity for which all must wish. On their part, let them 
be ready to establish union on a generous plan. Let them name 
their terms, but let them be just. Accept of every commercial 
preference it is in our power to give, for such things as we can 
raise for their use, or they make for ours. But let them not think 
to exclude us from going to other markets to dispose of those 
commodities which they cannot use, nor to supply those wants 
which they cannot supply. Still less, let it be proposed, that our 
properties, within our own territories, shall be taxed or regulated 
by any power on earth, but our own. The God who gave us life, 
gave us liberty at the same time : the hand of force may destroy, 
but cannot disjoin them. This, Sire, is our last, our determined 
resolution. And that you will be pleased to interpose, with that 
efficacy which your earnest endeavors may insure, to procure 
redress of these our great grievances, to quiet the minds of your 
subjects in British America against any apprehensions of future 
encroachment, to establish fraternal love and harmony through 
the whole empire, and that that may continue to the latest ages 
of time, is the fervent prayer of all British America. 

[NOTE D.] 

August, 1774. 

Instructions for the Deputies appointed to meet in General 

Congress on the part of this Colony. 

The unhappy disputes between Great Britain and her Ameri- 
can colonies, which began about the third year of the reign of 
his present Majesty, and since, continually increasing, have pro- 
ceeded to lengths so dangerous and alarming, as to excite just 
apprehensions in the minds of his Majesty's faithful subjects of 
this colony, that they are in danger of being deprived of their 
natural, ancient, constitutional, and chartered rights, have com- 
pelled them to take the same into their most serious considera- 
tion ; and, being deprived of their usual and accustomed mode of 
making known their grievances, have appointed us their represent- 
atives to consider what is proper to be done in this dangerous crisis 


of American affairs. It being our opinion that the united wis- 
dom of North America should be collected in a General Congress 
of all the colonies, we have appointed the Honorable Peyton Ran- 
dolph, Richard Henry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, 
Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, and Edmund Pendleton, Es- 
quires, deputies to represent this colony in the said Congress, to 
be held at Philadelphia, on the first Monday in September next. 

And that they may be the better informed of our sentiments, 
touching the conduct we wish them to observe on this import- 
ant occasion, we desire that they will express, in the first place, 
our faith and true allegiance to his Majesty, King George the 
third, our lawful and rightful sovereign ; and that we are deter- 
mined, with our lives and fortunes, to support him in the legal 
exercise of all his just rights and prerogatives. And, however 
misrepresented, we sincerely approve of a constitutional con- 
nection with Great Britain, and wish, most ardently, a return 
of that intercourse of affection and commercial connection, that 
formerly united both countries, which can only be effected by 
a removal of those causes of discontent, which have of late un- 
happily divided us. 

It cannot admit of a doubt, but the British subjects in Amer- 
ica are entitled to the same rights and privileges as their fellow 
subjects possess in Britain ; and therefore, that the power as- 
sumed by the British Parliament to bind America by their 
statutes in all cases whatsoever, is unconstitutional, and the 
source of these unhappy differences. 

The end of government would be defeated by the British 
Parliament exercising a power over the lives, the property, and 
the liberty of American subjects, who are not, and, from their 
local circumstances, cannot be, there represented. Of this 
nature, we consider the several acts of Parliament for raising a 
revenue in America, for extending the jurisdiction of the courts 
of Admiralty, for seizing American subjects, and transporting 
them to Britain to be tried for crimes committed in America, 
and the several late oppressive acts respecting the town of Bos- 
ton, and Province of the Massachusetts Bay. 


The original constitution of the American colonies possess- 
ing their assemblies with the sole right of directing their inter- 
nal polity, it is absolutely destructive of the end of their insti- 
tution, that their legislatures should be suspended, or prevented, 
by hasty dissolutions, from exercising their legislative powers. 

Wanting the protection of Britain, we have long acquiesced 
in their acts of navigation, restrictive of our commerce, which 
we consider as an ample recompense for such protection ; but 
as those acts derive their efficacy from that foundation alone, 
we have reason to expect they will be restrained, so as to pro- 
duce the reasonable purposes of Britain, and not injurious to us. 

To obtain redress of these grievances, without which the 
people of America can neither be safe, free, nor happy, they 
are willing to undergo the great inconvenience that will be de- 
rived to them, from stopping all imports whatever, from Great 
Britain, after the first day of November next, and also to cease 
exporting any commodity whatsoever, to the same place, after 
the tenth day of August, 1775. The earnest desire we have to 
make as quick and full payment as possible of our debts to 
Great Britain, and to avoid the heavy injury that would arise to 
this country from an earlier adoption of the non-exportation 
plan, after the people have already applied so much of their 
labor to the perfecting of the present crop, by which means, 
they have been prevented from pursuing other methods of 
clothing and supporting their families, have rendered it neces- 
sary to restrain you in this article of non-exportation ; but it is 
our desire, that you cordially co-operate with our sister colonies 
in General Congress, in such other just and proper methods as 
they, or the majority, shall deem necessary for the accomplish- 
ment of these valuable ends. 

The proclamation issued by General Gage, in the govern- 
ment of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, declaring it 
treason for the inhabitants of that province to assemble them- 
selves to consider of their grievances, and form associations for 
their common conduct on the occasion, and requiring the civil 
magistrates and officers to apprehend all such persons, to be 


tried for their supposed offences, is the most alarming process 
that ever appeared in a British government ; and the said Gene- 
ral Gage hath, thereby, assumed, and taken upon himself, 
powers denied by the constitution to our legal sovereign ; that 
he, not having condescended to disclose by what authority he 
exercises such extensive and unheard of powers, we are at a 
loss to determine, whether he intends to justify himself as the 
representative of the King, or as the Commander-in-Chief of 
his Majesty's forces in America. If he considers himself as acting 
in the character of his Majesty's representative, we would remind 
him that the statute 25th, Edward the third has expressed and 
defined all treasonable offences, and that the legislature of Great 
Britain had declared, that no offence shall be construed to be trea- 
son, but such as is pointed out by that statute, and that this was 
done to take out of the hands of tyrannical Kings, and of weak 
and wicked Ministers, that deadly weapon, which constructive 
treason had furnished them with, and which had drawn the 
blood of the best and honestest men in the kingdom ; and that 
the King of Great Britain hath no right by his proclamation, 
to subject his people to imprisonment, pains, and penalties. 

That if the said General Gage conceives he is empowered to 
act in this manner, as the Commander-in-Chief of his Majesty's 
forces in America, this odious and illegal proclamation must be 
considered as a plain and full declaration, that this despotic Vice- 
roy will be bound by no law, nor regard the constitutional rights 
of his Majesty's subjects, whenever they interfere with the plan 
he has formed for oppressing the good people of the Massachu- 
setts Bay ; and, therefore, that the executing, or attempting to 
execute, such proclamations, will justify resistance and reprisal. 


DEAR Sin Monticello, November 1, 1778. 

I have got through the bill for " proportioning crimes and pun- 
ishments in cases heretofore capital," and now enclose it to you 
with a request that you will be so good, as scrupulously to exam- 

VOL. I. 10 


ine and correct it, that it may be presented to our committee 
with as few defects as possible. In its style, I have aimed at ac- 
curacy, brevity, and simplicity, preserving, however, the very 
words of the established law, wherever their meaning had been 
sanctioned by judicial decisions, or rendered technical by usage. 
The same matter, if couched in the modern statutory language, 
with all its tautologies, redundancies, and circumlocutions, would 
have spread itself over many pages, and been unintelligible to 
those whom it most concerns. Indeed, I wished to exhibit a sam- 
ple of reformation in the barbarous style into which modern stat- 
utes have degenerated from their ancient simplicity. And I must 
pray you to be as watchful over what I have not said, as what is 
said ; for the omissions of this bill have all their positive mean- 
ing. I have thought it better to drop, in silence, the laws we 
mean to discontinue, and let them be swept away by the general 
negative words of this, than to detail them in clauses of express 
repeal. By the side of the text I have written the notes I made, 
as I went along, for the benefit of my own memory. They may 
serve to draw your attention to questions, to which the express- 
ions or the omissions of the text may give rise. The extracts 
from the Anglo-Saxon laws, the sources of the Common law, I 
wrote in their original, for my own satisfaction ;* but I have 
added Latin, or liberal English translations. From the time 
of Canute to that of the Magna Charta, you know, the text 
of our statutes is preserved to us in Latin only, and some old 

I have strictly observed the scale of punishments settled by the 
Committee, without being entirely satisfied with it. The Lex 
talionis, although a restitution of the Common law, to the sim- 
plicity of which we have generally found it so advantageous to 
return, will be revolting to the humanized feelings of modern 
times. An eye for an eye, and a hand for a hand, will exhibit 
spectacles in execution whose moral effect would be question- 
able ; and even the membrum pro membra of Bracton, or the 

[* In this publication, the original Saxon words are given, but, owing to the 
want of Saxon letter, they are printed in common type.] 


punishment of the offending member, although long authorized 
by our law, for the same offence in a slave has, you know, been 
not long since repealed, in conformity with public sentiment. 
This needs reconsideration. 

I have heard little of the proceedings of the Assembly, and do 
not expect to be with you till about the close of the month. In 
the meantime, present me respectfully to Mrs. Wythe, and accept 
assurances of the affectionate esteem and respect of, dear Sir, 

Your friend and servant. 

George Wythe, Esq. 

A Bill for proportioning Crimes and Punishments, in cases 
heretofore Capital. 

Whereas, it frequently happens that wicked and dissolute men, 
resigning themselves to the dominion of inordinate passions, com- 
mit violations on the lives, liberties, and property of others, and, 
the secure enjoyment of these having principally induced men 
to enter into society, government would be defective in its prin- 
cipal purpose, were it not to restrain such criminal acts, by in- 
flicting due punishments on those who perpetrate them ; but it 
appears, at the same time, equally deducible from the purposes of 
society, that a member thereof, committing an inferior injury, does 
not wholly forfeit the protection of his fellow citizens, but, after 
suffering a punishment in proportion to his offence, is entitled to 
their protection from all greater pain, so that it becomes a duty 
in the legislature to arrange, in a proper scale, the crimes which 
it may be necessary for them to repress, and to adjust thereto a 
corresponding gradation of punishments. 

And whereas, the reformation of offenders, though an object 
worthy the attention of the laws, is not effected at all by capital 
punishments, which exterminate instead of reforming, and should 
be the last melancholy resource against those whose existence is 
become inconsistent with the safety of their fellow citizens, which 
ilso weaken the State, by cutting off so many who, if reformed, 


might be restored sound members to society, who, even under a 
course of correction, might be rendered useful in various labors 
for the public, and would be living and long-continued spectacles 
to deter others from committing the like offences. 

And forasmuch as the experience of all ages and countries hath 
shown, that cruel and sanguinary laws defeat their own purpose, 
by engaging the benevolence of mankind to withhold prosecu- 
tions, to smother testimony, or to listen to it with bias, when, if the 
punishment were only proportioned to the injury, men would feel 
it their inclination, as well as their duty, to see the laws observed. 

For rendering crimes and punishments, therefore, more pro- 
portionate to each other : 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no crime shall be 
henceforth punished by the deprivation of life or limb,* except 
those hereinafter ordained to be so punished. 

f If a man do levy warj against the Commonweath [in the 
same], or be adherent to the enemies of the Commonwealth 
[within the same], giving to them aid or comfort in the Com- 

* This takes away the punishment of cutting off the hand of a person striking an 
other, or drawing his sword in one of the superior courts of justice. Stamf. P. C. 
38. 33. H. 8. c. 12. In an earlier stage of the Common law, it was death. Gif hwa 
gefeohte on Cyniuges huse sy he scyldig ealles his yrfes, and sy on Cyninges dome 
hwaether he lif age de nage : si quis in regis domo pugnet, perdat omnem suam haere- 
ditatem, et in regis sit arbitrio, possideat vilam an non possideat. LI. Inae. 6. Gif 
hwa on Cyninges healle gefeohte, oththe his waepne gebredc, and hine mon gefo, sy 
thset on Cyninges dome swa death, swa lif, swa he him forgyfan wille: si quis in aula 
regia puguet, vel arma sua extrahat et capiatur, sit in regis arbitrio tarn mors quam 
vita, sicut ei condonare voluerit. LI. Alfr. 7. Gif hwa on Cyninges hirede gefeohte 
tholige thajt lifes, buton se Cyning him gearian wille : si quia in regia dinu'cat, perdat 
vitam, nisi rex hoc illi eondonare velit. LI. Cnuti. 56. 4. 131. 125. 

f 25. E. 3. st. 5. c. 2. 7. W. 3. c. 3. 2. 

\ Though the crime of an accomplice in treason is not here described, yet, Lord 
Coke says, the partaking and maintaining a treason herein described, makes him a 
principal in that treason : it being a rule that in treason all are principals. 3 Inst. 
138. 2 Inst. 590. 1 H. 6. 5. 

These words in the English statute narrow its operation. A man adhering to 
the enemies of the Commonwealth, in a foreign country, would certainly not be guilty 
of treason with us, if these words be retained. The convictions of treason of that 
land in England have been under that branch of the statute \vhich makes the com- 
passing the king's death treason. Foster 196. 197. But as we omit that branch, we 
must by other means reach this flagrant case. 


monwealth, or elsewhere, and thereof be convicted of open deed, 
by the evidence of two sufficient witnesses, or his own voluntary 
confession, the said cases, and no* others, shall be adjudged trea- 
sons which extend to the Commonwealth, and the person so con- 
victed shall suffer death, by hanging,! and shall forfeit his lands 
and goods to the Commonwealth. 

If any person commit petty treason, or a husband murder his 
wife, a parent;}: his child, or a child his parent, he shall suffer 

* The stat. 25. E. 3. directs all other cases of treasons to await the opinion of 
Parliament. This has the effect of negative words, excluding all other treasons. As 
we drop that part of the statute, we must, by negative words, prevent an inundation 
of common law treasons. I strike out the word " it," therefore, and insert " the said 
cases, and no others." Quaere, how far those negative words may affect the case of 
accomplices above mentioned ? Though if their case was within the statute, so as 
that it needed not await the opinion of Parliament, it should seem to be also within 
our act, so as not to be ousted by the negative words. 

f This implies " by the neck." See 2 Hawk. 544. notes n. o. 

\ By the stat. 21. Jac. 1. c. 27. and Act Ass. 1170. c. 12. concealment by the mother 
of the death of a bastard child is made murder. In justification of this, it is said, 
that shame is a feeling which operates so strongly on the mind, as frequently to 
induce the mother of such a child to murder it, in order to conceal her disgrace. 
The act of concealment, therefore, proves she was influenced by shame, and that in- 
fluence produces a presumption that she murdered the child. The effect of this law 
then is, to make what, in its nature, is only presumptive evidence of a murder 
conclusive of that fact. To this I answer, 1. So many children die before or soon 
after birth, that to presume all those murdered who aro found dead, is a presump- 
tion which will lead us oftener wrong than right, and consequently would shed more 
blood than it would save. 2. If the child were born dead, the mother would 
naturally choose rather to conceal it, in hopes of still keeping a good character in 
the neighborhood. So that the act of concealment is far from proving the guilt of 
murder on the mother. 3. If shame be a powerful affection of the mind, is not pa- 
rental love also ? Is it not the strongest affection known ? Is it not greater 
than even that of self-preservation ? While we draw presumptions from shame, one 
affection of the mind, against the life of the prisoner, should we not give some 
weight to presumptions from parental love, an affection at least as strong, in favor 
of life ? If concealment of the fact is a presumptive evidence of murder, so strong 
as to overbalance all other evidence that may possibly be produced to take away the 
presumption, why not trust the force of this incontestable presumption to the jury, 
who are, in a regular course, to hear presumptive, as well as positive testimony ? 
If the presumption arising from the act of concealment, may be destroyed by proof 
positive or circumstantial to the contrary, why should the legislature preclude that 
contrary proof? Objection. The crime is difficult to prove, being usually commit- 
ted in secret Answer. But circumstantial proof will do; for example, marks of vio- 
K-nee, the behavior, countenance, &c. of the prisoner, &c. And if conclusive proof 


death by hanging, and his body be delivered to Anatomists ta 
be dissected. 

Whosoever committeth murder by poisoning shall suffei 
death by poison. 

Whosoever committeth murder by way of duel shall suffer 
death by hanging ; and if he were the challenger, his body, 
after death, shall be gibbetted.* He who removeth it from the 
gibbet shall be guilty of a misdemeanor ; and the officer shall 
see that it be replaced. 

Whosoever shall commit murder in any other way shall suf- 
fer death by hanging. 

And in all cases of Petty treason and murder, one half of the 
lands and goods of the offender, shall be forfeited to the next 
of kin to the person killed, and the other half descend and go 
to his own representatives. Save only, where one shall slay 
the challenger in a duel,f in which case, no part of his lands 
or goods shall be forfeited to the kindred of the party slain, 
but, instead thereof, a moiety shall go to the Commonwealth. 

The same evidence J shall suffice, and order and course >, of 

be difficult to be obtained, shall we therefore fasten irretrievably upon equivocal 
proof? Can we change the nature of what is contestuble, and make it incontest- 
able ? Can we make that conclusive which God and nature have made inconclusive? 
Solon made no law against parricide, supposing it impossible that any one could be 
guilty of it ; and the Persians, from the same opinion, adjudged all who killed their 
reputed parents to be bastards ; and although parental be yet stronger than filial 
affection, we* admit saticide proved on the most equivocal testimony, whilst they 
rejected all proof of an act certainly not more repugnant to nature, as of a thing 
impossible, unprovable. See Beccaria, 31. 

* 25. G. 2. c. 37. 

f Quaere, if the estates of both parties in a duel, should not be forfeited ? The 
deceased is equally guilty with a suicide. 

\ Quaere, if these words may not be omitted ? By the Common law, one witness 
in treason was sufficient. Foster 233. Plowd. 8. a. Mirror c. 3. ty 34. Waterhouse 
on Fortesc. de laud. 252. Ctirth. 144. per. Holt. But Lord Coke, contra 3 iust. 26. 
The stat. 1. E. 6. c. 12. & 5. E 6. c. 11. first required two witnesses in treason. The 
clause against high treason supra, does the same as to high treason ; but it seems if 
1st and 5th E. 6. are dropped, Petty treason will be tried and proved, as at Common 
law, by one witness. But quaere, Lord Coke being contra, whose opinion it is ever 
dangerous to neglect 

These words are intended to take away the peremptory challenge of thirty -fiv 


trial be observed in cases of Petty treason, as in those of other* 

Whosoever shall be guilty of manslaughter,! shall, for the 
first offence, be condemned to hard! labor for seven years in 
the public works, shall forfeit one half of his lands and goods 
to the next of kin to the person slain ; the other half to be 
sequestered during such term, in the hands and to the use of 
the Commonwealth, allowing a reasonable part of the profits 
for the support of his family. The second offence shall be 
deemed murder. 

And where persons, meaning to commit a trespass^ only, or 
larceny, or other unlawful deed, and doing an act from which 
involuntary homicide hath ensued, have heretofore been ad- 
judged guilty of manslaughter, or of murder, by transferring 
such their unlawful intention to an act, much more penal than 
they could have in probable contemplation ; no such case shall 
hereafter be deemed manslaughter, unless manslaughter was in- 
tended, nor murder, unless murder was intended. 

jurors. The same words being used 1. 2. Ph. <fc M. c. 10. are deemed to have restored 
the peremptory challenge in high treason ; and consequently are sufficient to take it 
away. Foster 237. 

* Petty treason is considered in law only as an aggravated murder. Foster 107. 
323. A pardon of all murders, pardons Petty treason. 1 Hale P. C. 378. see 2 H. 
P. C. 340. 342. It is also included iu the word " felony," so that a pardon of all felo- 
nies, pardons Petty treason. 

f Manslaughter is punishable at law, by burning in the hands, and forfeiture of 

\ It is best, in this act, to lay down principles only, in order that it may not for- 
ever be undergoing change ; and, to carry into effect the minuter parts of it, frame a 
bill " for the employment and government of felons, or malefactors, condemned to 
labor for the Commonwealth," which may serve as an Appendix to this, and in 
which all the particulars requisite may be directed ; and as experience will, from 
time to time, be pointing out amendments, these may be made without touching 
this fundamental act. See More's Utopia p. 50. for some good hints. Fugitives 
might, in such a bill, be obliged to work two days for every one they absent them- 

The shooting at a wild fowl, a.nd killing a man, is homicide by misadventure. 
Shooting at a pullet, without any design to take it away, is manslaughter ; and with 
a design to take it away, is murder. 6 Sta. tr. 222. To shoot at the poultry of an- 
other, and thereby set fire to his house, is arson, iu the opinion of some. Dalt. c. 116. 
1. Kale's P. C. 569. c. contra. 


In other cases of homicide, the law will not add to the mise- 
ries of the party, by punishments and forfeitures.* 

* Beccaria. 82. Suicide. Homicides are, 1. Justifiable. 2. Excusable. 3. Felo- 
nious. For the last, punishments have been already provided. The first are held to 
be totally without guilt, or rather commendable. The second are in some cases not 
quite unblamable. These should subject the party to marks of contrition ; viz., the 
killing of a man in defence of property ; so also in defence of one's person, which is 
a species of excusable homicide ; because, although cases may happen where these 
also are commendable, yet most frequently they are done on too slight appearance 
of danger ; as in return for a blow, kick, fillip, ttc.; or on a person's getting into a 
house, not animo furandi, but perhaps veneris causa, Ac. Bractou says, " si quis fu- 
rem nocturuum Occident, ita demum impune foret, si parcere ei sine periculo suo non 
potuit, si autem potuit, aliter erit." Item erit si quis hamsokne quae dicitur invasio 
domus contra pacem domini regis in domo sua se defeuderit, et invasor occisus fuerit ; 
impersecutus et insultus remanebit, si ille quern invasit aliter se defendere non potuit ; 
dicitur euim quod non est diguns habere pacem qui non vult observare earn." L. 3. 
c. 23. 3. " Qui latronem Occident, non tenetur, nocturnum vel diurnum, si aliter 
periculum evadere non possit ; tenetur tamen si possit. Item non tenetur si per in- 
fortunium, et non animo et voluntate occideudi, nee dolus, nee culpa ejus inveniatur." 
L. 3. c. 36. 1. The stat. 24. H. 8. c. 5. is therefore merely declaratory of the Com- 
mon law. See on the general subject Puffend. 2. 5. 10. 11. 12. 16. 17. Excusable 
homicides are by misadventure, or in self-defence. It is the opinion of some lawyers, 
that the Common law punished these with death, and that the statute of Marlbridge, 
c. 26. and Gloucester, c. 9. first took away this by giving them title to a pardon, as 
matter of right, and a writ of restitution of their goods. See 2. Inst. 14S. 315. 3. 
Inst. 55. Bracton L. 3. c. 4. 2. Fleta L. 1. c. 23. () 14. 15. 21. E. 3. 23. But it is 
believed never to "have been capital. 1. H. P. C. 425. 1 Hawk. 75. Foster, 282. 
4. Bl. 188. It seems doubtful also, whether at Common law, the party forfeited all 
his chattels in this case, or only paid a weregild. Foster, ubi supra, doubts, and 
thinks it of no consequence, as the statute of Gloucester entitles the party to Royal 
grace, which goes as well to forfeiture as life. To me there seems no reason for call- 
ing these excusable homicides, and the killing a man in defence of property, a justi- 
fiable homicide. The latter is less guiltless than misadventure or self-defence. 

Suicide is by law punishable by forfeiture of chattels. This bill exempts it from 
forfeiture. The suicide injures the State less than he who leaves it with his effects. 
If the latter then be not punished, the former should not. As to the example, we 
need not fear its influence. Men are too much attached to life, to exhibit frequent 
instances of depriving themselves of it. At any rate, the quasi-punishment of con- 
fiscation will not prevent it. For if one be found who can calmly determine to re- 
nounce life, who is so weary of his existence here, as rather to make experiment of 
what is beyond the grave, can we suppose him, in such a state of mind, susceptible 
of influence from the losses to his f imily from confiscation ? That men in general, 
too, disapprove of this severity, is apparent from the constant practice of juries find- 
ing the suicide in a state of insanity ; because they have no other way of saving the 
forfeiture. Let it then be done away. 


Whenever sentence of death shall have been pronounced 
against any person for treason or murder, execution shall be 
done on the next day but one after such sentence, unless it be 
Sunday, and then on the Monday following.* 

Whosoever shall be guilty of Rape,f Poly gamy, | or Sodomy 

* Beccaria. (> 19. 25. G. 2. c. 37. 

f 13. E. I.e. 34. Forcible abduction of a woman having substance, is felony by 3. 
H. 7. e. 2. 3. Inst. 61. 4. Bl. 208. If goods be taken, it will be felony as to them, 
without this statute ; and as to the abduction of the woman, quaere if not better to 
leave that, and also kidnapping, 4. Bl. 219. to the Common law remedies, viz., fine, 
imprisonment, and pillory, Raym. 474. 2 Show. 221. Skin. 47. Comb. 10. the 
writs of Homine replegiando, Capias in Withernam, Habeas corpus, and the action 
of trespass ? Rape was felony at the Common law. 3. Inst. 60. but see 2. Inst. 
181. further for its definition see 2. Inst. 180. Bracton, L. 3. c. 28. 1. says the 
punishment, of rape is " amissio membrorum, ut sit membrum pro membro, quia virgo, 
cum corrumpitur, membrum arnittit, et ideo corruptor puniatur in eo in quo deliquit; 
oculos igitur amittat propter aspectum decoris quo virgiiiem concupivit ; amittat et 
testiculos qui calorem stupri induxerunt. Olim quid*Mii corruptores virginitatis et cas- 
titatis suspendebantur et eorum fantores, <fec. Modernis tamen temporibus aliter obser- 
vatur," Ac. And Fleta, " solet justiciarius pro quolibet mahemio ad amissionem testicu- 
lorum vel oculorum convictum condemnare, sed non sine errore, eo quod id judicium 
nisi in corruptione virginum tantum competebat ; nam pro virginitatis corruptione so- 
lebantabscidi et mcrito judicari, ut sic pro membro quod abstulit, membrum per quod 
deliquit amitteret, viz., testiculos. qui calorem stupri induxerunt," <fcc. Fleta, L. I.e. 40. 
$ 4. " Gif theow man theowne to nydhed genyde, gabte mid his eowende :" Si 
servus servam ad stuprum coegerit, compenset hoc virga sua virili. Si quis puellam," 
fee. LI. Aelfridi. 25. " Hi purgist femme per forze forfait ad les membres. LI. Gul. 
conq. 19. In Dyer, 305, a man was indicted, and found guilty of a rape on a girl of 
seven years old. The court " doubted of the rape of so tender a girl ; but if she had 
been nine years old, it would have been otherwise." 14. Eliz. Therefore the statute 
18. Eliz. c. 6. says, "For plain declaration of law, be it enacted, that if any person 
shall unlawfully and carnally know and abuse any woman child, under the age of ten 
years, fec., he shall suffer as a felon, without allowance of clergy:' Lord Hale, how- 
ever, 1. P. C. 630. thinks it rape independent of that statute, to know carnally, a girl 
under twelve, the age of consent. Yet 4. Bl. 212. seems to neglect this opinion ; and 
as it was founded on the words of 3. E. 1. c. 13. and this is with us omitted, the offence 
of carnally knowing a girl under twelve, or ten years of age, will not be distinguished 
from that of any other. 

\ 1. JMC. 1 . c. 1 1. Polygamy was not penal till the statute 1. Jac. The law contented 
itself with the nullity of the act. 4. Bl. 163. 3. Inst. 88. 

25. H. 8. c. 6. Buggery is twofold. 1. With mankind, 2. with beasts. Buggery 
is the Genus, of which Sodomy and Bestiality, are the species. 1 2. Co. 37. says, il note 
that Sodomy is with mankind." But Finch's L. B. 3. c. 24. " Sodomiary is a carnal cop- 
ulation against nature, to wit, of man or woman in the same sex, or of either of them 
with beasts." 12. Co. 36. says, " it appears by the ancient authorities of the law that 


with man or woman, shall be punished, if a man, by castra- 
tion,* if a woman, by cutting through the cartilage of her nose 
a hole of one half inch in diameter at the least. 

But no one shall be punished for Polygamy, who shall have 
married after probable information of the death of his or her 
husband or wife, or after his or her husband or wife, hath ab- 
sented him or herself, so that no notice of his or her being alive 
hath reached such person for seven years together, or hath suf- 
fered the punishments before prescribed for rape, polygamy, or 

Whosoever on purpose, and of malice forethought, shall 
maimf another, or shall disfigure him, by cutting out or dis- 
abling the tongue, slitting or cutting off a nose, lip, or ear, brand- 
ing, or otherwise, shall be maimed, or disfigured in likej sort : 

this was felony." Yet the 25. H. 8. declares it felony, as if supposed not to be so. 
Britton, c. 9. says, that Sodomites are to be burnt. F. N. B. 269. b. Fleta, L. 1. c. 37. 
says, " pecorantes et Sodomitae in terra vivi confodiantur." The Mirror makes it trea- 
son. Bestiality can never make any progress; it cannot therefore be injurious to so- 
ciety in any great degree, which is the true measure of criminality in foro civili, and 
will ever be properly and severely punished, by universal derision. It may, therefore, 
be omitted. It was anciently punished with death, as it has been latterly. LI. Aelfrid, 
31. and 25. H. 8. c. 6. see Beccaria. 31. Montesq. 

* Bracton, Fleta, Ac. 

f 22. 23. Car. 2. c. 1. Maiming was felony at the Common law Britton, c. 25. 
"Mahemium autem dici poteri, aubi aliquis in aliqua parte sui corparis laesionem 
acceperit, per quam affectus sit inutilis ad puguandum: ut si manus amputetur, vel 
pes, oculus privetur, vel scerda de osse capitis laveter, vel si quis dentes praecisores 
amiserit, vel castratus fuerit, et talis pro mahemiato poterit adjudicari." Fleta L. 
1. c. 40. "Et volons que uul maheme ne soit tenus forsque de membre toilet dount 
home est plus feble a combatre, sicome del oyl. ou de la mayn, ou del pie, ou de la 
tete debruse, ou de les dentz devant." Britton, c. 25. For further definitions, see 
Bracton, L. 3. c. 24. 3. 4. Finch L. B. 3. c. 1 2. Co L. 1 26. a. b. 288. a. 3. Bl. 121. 4. Bl. 205. 
Stamf. P. C. L. 1. c. 41. I do not find any of these definitions confine the offence to wilful 
and malicious perpetrations of it. 22. 23. Car. 2. c. 1. called the Coventry act, has the 
words " on purpose and of malice forethought." Nor does the Common law prescribe 
the same punishment for disfiguring, as for maiming. 

\ The punishment was by retaliation. " Et come ascun appele serra de tele lei- 
onie atteint et attende jugement, si soit le judgment tiel que il perde autriel membre 
come il avera toilet al pleintyfe. Et sy la pleyute soi faite de femme que avera toilet 
a home sea membres, en tiel cas perdra la femme la une meyu par jugement, come le 
membre dount ele axera trespasse." Brittou, c. 25. Fleta, B. 1. c. 40. LI. Aelfr. 
19. 40. 


or if that cannot be, for want of the same part, then as nearly 
as may be, in some other part of at least equal value and esti- 
mation, in the opinion of a jury, and moreover, shall forfeit one 
half of his lands and goods to the sufferer. 

Whosoever shall counterfeit* any coin, current by law within 
this Commonwealth, or any paper bills issued in the nature of 
money, or of certificates of loan on the credit of this Common- 
wealth, or of all or any of the United States of America, or any 
Inspectors' notes for tobacco, or shall pass any such counterfeit 
coin, paper, bills, or notes, knowing them to be counterfeit ; or, 
for the sake of lucre, shall diminish,f case, or wash any such coin, 
shall be condemned to hard labor six years in the public works, 
and shall forfeit all his lands and goods to the Commonwealth. 

^Whosoever committeth Arson, shall be condemned to hard 
labor five years in the public works, and shall make good the loss 
of the sufferers threefold. 

* 25. E. 3. st. 5. c. 2. 5. El. c. 11. 18. El. c. 1. 8. 9. W. 3. c. 26. 15. 16. G. 2. c. 28. 7. Ann. 
c. 25. By the laws of Aethelstan and Canute, this was punished by cutting off the 
hand. " Gif se mynetere ful wurthe slea man tha hand of, the he that ful mid worthe 
and sette uppon tha mynet smiththan." In English characters and words " if the 
minter foul [criminal] wert, slay the hand off, that he the foul [crime] with wrought, 
and set upon the mint-smithery." LI. Arthelst. 14. " Et si quis praeter hanc, falsam 
fecerit, perdat mauuin quacum falsam^confecit." LI. Cnuti. 8. It had been death by 
the LI. Aethelredi sub fine. By thos--e of H. 1. "si quis cum falso denario inventus* 
fuerit fiat justitia mea, saltern de dextro pugno et de testiculis." Anno 1108. Op- 
erae pretium vero est audire quam severus rex fuerit in pravos. Monetarios enim 
fere omnes totius Angliae fecit ementulari, et manus dcxtras abscindi, quia monetam 
furtive corruperarit. Wilkins ib. et anno 1125. When the Common law became set- 
tled, it appears to have been punishable by death. "Est aluid genus criminis quod 
sub nomine falsi continetur, et tangit coronam domini regis, et ultimum inducit sup- 
plicium, sicut de illis qui falsam fabricant monetam, et qui de re non reproba, faciuut 
reprobam; eicut sunt retonsores denariorum. Bract. L. 3. c. 2. Fleta, L. 1. c. 22. 
4. Lord Hale thinks it was deemed petty treason at common law. 1. H. P. C. 220. 
224. The bringing in false money with intent to merchandize, and make payment of 
it, is treason, by 25. E. 3. But the best proof of the intention, is the act of passing 
it, ami why not leave room for repentance here, as in other cases of felonies intended ? 
l.H. P. C. 229. 

f Clipping, filing, rounding, impairing, scaling, lightening, (the words in the statutes) 
are included in " diminishing ;" gilding, in the word " casing ;" coloring in the word 
" washing ;" and falsifying, or making, is "counterfeiting." 

\ 43. L. c. 13. confined to four counties. 22. 23. Car. 2. c. 7. 9. G. 1. c. 22. 9. G. 3. c. 29. 

Arson was a felony at Common law 3. Inst. 66 ; punished by a fine, LI. Aethelst. 6. 


If any person shall, within this Commonwealth, or being a citi- 
zen thereof, shall without the same, wilfully destroy,* or runf 
away with any sea-vessel, or goods laden on board thereof, or 
plunder or pilfer any wreck, he shall be condemned to hard labor 
five years in the public works, and shall make good the loss of 
the sufferers threefold. 

Whosoever committeth Robbery ,J shall be condemned to hard 
labor four years in the public works, and shall make double repa- 
ration to the persons injured. 

Whatsoever act, if committed on any Mansion house, would be 
deemed Burglary,<> shall be Burglary, if committed on any other 

But LI. Cnuti, 61. make it a "scelus inexpiable." '' Hus brec and bsernet and 
open thyfth seberemorth and hlaford swice aefter woruld laga is botleds." Word for 
word, "house break and burnt, and open theft, and manifest murther, and lord- 
treachery, afterworld's law is bootless." Bracton says it was punished by death. " Si 
quis turbida seditione inceudium fecerit nequiter et in felonia, vel ob inimicitias, vel 
praedandi causa, capitali puniatur poena vel senteutia." Bract. L. 3. 27. He defines 
it as commissible by burning " aedes zilienas.' " Ib. Britton, c. 9. " Ausi soit enquis 
deceux que felonisement en temps de pees eient autre blees ou autre mesons ars, et ceux 
que serrount de ceo atteyntz. soient ars issint que eux soient punys par mesme cele 
chose dount ilz pecherent." Fleta, L. 1. c. 37. is a copy of Bracton. The Mirror c. 1. 
8. says, " Ardours sont que ardent citie, ville, maison home, maison beast, oxi auters 
chatelx, de lour felonie en temps de pace pour haine ou vengeance." Again, c. 2. 
11. pointing out the words of the appellor "jeo dise que Sebright, <tc., entiel meason 
ou biens mist de feu." Coke 3. Inst. 67. says, " the ancient authors extended this fel- 
ony further than houses, viz., to sacks of corn, waynes or carts of coal, wood or other 
goods." He denies it as commissible, not only on the inset houses, parcel of the man- 
sion house, but the outset also, as barn, stable, cowhouse, sheep house, dairy house, 
mill house, and the like, parcel of the mansion house. But " burning of a barn, being 
no parcel of a mansion house, is no felony," unless there be corn or hay within it. Ib. 
The 22. 23. Car. 2. and 9. G. 1. are the principal statutes against arson. They extend 
the offence beyond the Common law. 

* 1. Ann. st. 2. c. 9. 12. Ann. c. 18. 4. G.I. c. 12. 26. G. 2. c. 19. 

f 11.12. W. 3. c. 7. 

} Robbery was a felony at Common law. 3 Inst. 68. " Scelus inexpiable," by the 
LI. Cnuti. 61. [See before in Arson.] It was punished with death. Britt. c. 15> 
"de robbours et de larouns et de semblables mesfesours, soit ausi ententivemeut en- 
qnis et tauntost soient ceux robbours juges a la mort." Fleta says, "si quis cou- 
victus ftierit de bouis viri robbatis vel asportatis ad sectam regis judicium capitale 
eubibit. L. 1. c. 39. See also Bract. L. 3. c. 32. 1. 

Burglary was felony at the Common law. 3 Inst. 63. It was not distinguished 
by ancient authors, except the Mirror, from simple House-breaking, ib. 65. Burglary 
and House-breaking were called " Hamsockne diximus etiam de pad" violatioue et de 


house ; and he, who is guilty of Burglary, shall be condemned to 
hard labor four years in the public works, and shall make double 
reparation to the persons injured. 

Whatsoever act, if committed in the night time, shall consti- 
tute the crime of Burglary, shall, if committed in the day, be 
deemed House-breaking ; * and whosoever is guilty thereof, shall 
be condemned to hard labor three years in the public works, and 
shall make reparation to the persons injured. 

Whosoever shall be guilty of Horse-stealing,f shall be con- 

immunittitibus domus, si quis hoc in posterum fecerit ut perdat omue quod habet, et 
sit in regis arbitrio utrum vitam habeat. Eac we quoedon be muudbryce and be ham 
socnum, sethe hit ofer this do tbset he dolie ealles thaes the age, and sy on Cyninges 
dome hwiether he life age ; and we quoth of mound-breach, and of home-seeking 
he who it after this do, that he dole all that he owe [owns], and is in king's doom 
whether he life owes [owns.] LI. Eadmundi. c. 6. and see LI. Cuuti. 61. " hus brec," 
in notes on Arson, ante. A Burglar was also called a Burgessor. "Et soit enquis 
de Burgessours et sunt tenus Burgessours trestous ceux que > felonisement en temps de 
pees debrusont esglises ou auter mesons, ou murs ou portes de nos cytes, ou de nos 
Burghes." Britt. c. 10. ' Burglaria est nocturna diruptio habitaculi alicujiis, vel eccle- 
siae, etiam murorum, partarumve civitatis nut burgi, ad feloniam aliquam perpe* 
trandam. Noctanter dico, receutiores secutus ; veteres enim hoc uon adjungunt. 
Spelm. gloss, verb. Burglaria. It was punished with death. Ib. citn. from the office 
of a Coroner. It may be committed in the outset houses, as well as inset. 3 List. 
65. though not under the same roof or contiguous, provided they be within the Cur- 
tilage or Homestall. 4 Bl. 225. As by the Common law, all felonies were clergiable, 
the stat. 23 H. 8. c. 1. 5. E. 6. c. 9. and 18 El. c. 7. first distinguished them, by tak- ' 
ing the clerical privilege of impunity from the principals, and 3. 4. \V. M. c. 9. 
from accessories before the fact. No statute defines what Burglary is. The 12 Ann. 
c. 7. decides the doubt whether, where breaking is subsequent to entry, it is Burglary. 
Bacon's Elements had affirmed, and 1. H. P. C. j>54. had deuied it. Our bill must dis- 
tinguish them by different degrees of punishment. 

* At the Common law, the offence of Housebreaking was not distinguished from 
Burglary, and neither of them from any other larceny. The statutes at first took 
away clergy from Burglary, which made a leading distinction between the two of- 
fences. Later statutes, however, have taken clergy from so many cases of House- 
breaking, as nearly to bring the offences together again. These are 23 H. 8. c. 1. 1. 
E. 6. c. 12. 5 and 6 E. 6. c. 9. 3 and 4 W. M. c. 9. 39 El. c. 15. 10 and 11 W. 3 c. 23. 
12 Ann. c. 7. See Barr. 428. 4 Bl. 240. The circumstances which in these statutes char- 
acterize the offence, seem to have been occasional and unsystematical. The houses 
on which Burglary may be committed, and the circumstances which constitute that 
crime being ascertained, it will be better to define Housebreaking by the same sub- 
jects and circumstances, and let the crimes be distinguished only by the hour at 
which they are committed, and the degree of punishment. 

f The offence of Horse-stealing seems properly distinguishable from other larcenies. 


demned to hard labor three years in the public works, and shall 
make reparation to the person injured. 

Grand Larceny* shall be where the goods stolen are of the 
value of five dollars ; and whosoever shall be guilty thereof, shall 
be forthwith put in the pillory for one half hour, shall be con- 
demned to hard laborf two years in the public works, and shall 
make reparation to the person injured. 

here, where these animals generally run at large, the temptation being so great and 
frequent, and the facility of commission so remarkable. See 1 E. 6. c. 12. 23 E. 6. c. 
33. 31 El. c. 12. 

* The distinction between grand and petty larceny, is very ancient. At first 8d. 
was the sum which constituted grand larceny. LI. Aethelst. c. 1. "Ne parcatur ulli 
furi, qui fur-turn manutenens captus sit, supra 12. annos nato, et supra 8. denarioa." 
Afterwards, in the same king's reign it was raised to 12d. "non parcatur alicui furi 
ultra 12 denarois, et ultra 12 annos nato ut occidemus ilium et capiamus omnequod 
possidet, et imprimis sumamus rei furto ablatae pretium ab haerede, ac dividatur 
postea reliquum in duas partes, una pars uxori, si munda, et facinoris conscia nou sit; 
et residuum in duo, dimidium capiat rex, dimidium societas." LI. Aethelst. Wilkins, 
p. 65. 

) LI. Inae. c. 7. " Si quis furetur ita ut uxor ejus et infans ipsius nesciaut, solvat 60. 
solidos poeuae loco. Si autem furetur testantibus omnibus haeredibus suis, abeant 
omnes in servitutem." Ina was king of the West-Saxons, and began to reign A. C. 688. 
After the union of the Heptarchy, i. e. temp. Aethelst. inter 924 and 940, we find it 
punishable with death as above. So it was inter 1017 and 1035, i. e. temp. Cuuti. LL 
Cnuti 61. cited in notes on Arson. In the time of William the conqueror, it seems to 
have been made punishable by fine only. LI. Gul. conq. apud Wilk. p. 218, 220. This 
commutation, however, was taken away by LI. H. 1. anno 1108. "Si quis in furto 
vel latrocinio cleprehensus fuisset, suspenderetur ; sublata wirgildorum, id est, pecu- 
niarae redemptionis lege." Larceny is the felonious taking and carrying away of the 
personal goods of another. 1. As to the taking, the 3. 4. W. M. c. 9 5. is not addi- 
tional to the Common law, but declaratory of it ; because where only the care or 
use, and not the possession, of things is delivered, to take them was larceny at the 
Common law. The 33. H. 6. c. 1 and 21 H. 8. c. 7. indeed, have added to the Com- 
mon law, by making it larceny in a servant to convert things of his master's. But 
quaere, if they should be imitated more than as to other breaches of trust in general. 
2. As to the subject of larceny, 4 G. 2. c. 32. 6 G. 3. c. 36. 48. 43. El. c. 7. 15. Car. 2. 
c. 2. 23. G. 2. c. 26. 31. G. 2. c. 35. 9. G. 3. c. 41. 25. G. 2. c. 10. have extended larceny 
to things of various sorts either real, or fixed to the reality. But the enumeration is 
unsystematical, and in this country, where the produce of the earth is so spontaneous, 
as to have rendered things of this kind scarcely a breach of civility or good manners, 
in the eyes of the people, quaere, if it would not too much enlarge the field of Crim- 
inal law? The same may be questioned of 9 G. 1. c. 22. 13 Car. 2. c. 10. 10 G. 2. c. 
32. 5 G. 3. c. 14. 22 and 23 Car. 2. c. 25. 37 E. 3. c. 19. making it felony to steal ani- 
mals fera? naturae. 


Petty Larceny shall be, where the goods stolen are of less value 
than five dollars ; and whosoever shall be guilty thereof, shall be 
forthwith put in the pillory for a quarter of an hour, shall be con- 
demned to hard labor one year in the public works, and shall 
make reparation to the person injured. 

Robbery* or larceny of bonds, bills obligatory, bills of ex- 
change, or promissory notes for the payment of money or tobacco, 
lottery tickets, paper bills issued in the nature of money, or of 
certificates of loan on the credit of this Commonwealth, or of all 
or any of the United States of Amerida, or Inspectors' notes for 
tobacco, shall be punished in the same manner as robbery or 
larceny of the money or tobacco due on, or represented by such 

Buyers! an d receivers of goods taken by way of robbery or 
larceny, knowing them to have been so taken, shall be deemed 
accessaries to such robbery or larceny after the fact. 

Prison-breakers;];, also, shall be deemed accessaries after the fact, 
to traitors or felons whom they enlarge from prison. $ 

* 2 G. 2. e. 25 3. 7 G. 3. c. 50. 

f 3. 4. W. M. c. 9. 4. 5 Ann. c. 31. 5. 4 G. 1. c. 11. 1. 

j 1 E. 2. 

Breach of prison at the Common law was capital, without regard to the crime 
for which the party was committed. " Cum pro criminis qualitate in carcerem re- 
cepti fuerint, conspiraverint (ut ruptis vinculis aut fracto carcere) evaduut, amplius 
(quam causa pro qua recepti aunt exposeit) puniendi sunt, videlicet ultimo sup- 
plied, quamvis ex eo crimine iunocentes inveniantur, propter quod induct! stint in 
carcerem et imparcati. Bracton L. 3. c. 9. 4. Britt. c. 11. Fleta, L. 1. c. 26. 4. 
Yet in the Y. B. Hill. 1. H. 7. 2. Hussey says, that by the opinion of Billing and 
Choke, and all the justices, it was a felony in strangers only, but not in the prisoner 
himself. S. C. Fitz. Abr. Coron. 48. They are principal felons, not accessaries, ib. 
Whether it was felony in the prisoner at Common law, is doubted. Stain. P. C. 30. b 
The Mirror c. 5. 1, says, ' abu.~ion est a tener escape de prisoner, ou de bruserie 
del gaole pur peche mortell, car eel usage nest garrant per nul ley, ne in mil part est 
use forsque in cest realme, et en France, eius [rnais] e^t leu garrantie de ceo faire 
per la ley de nature." 2 Inst. 589. The stat. 1. E. 2. de fraugentibus prisonam, re 
strained the judgment of life and limb for prison breaking, to cases where the 
offence of the prisoner required such judgment. 

It is not only vain, but wicked, in a legislator to frame laws in opposition to the 
laws of nature, and to arm them with tlie terrors of death. This is truly creating 
crimes in order to punish them. The law of nature impels every one to escape from 
confinement ; it should not, therefore, be subjected to punishment. Let the legislator 


All attempts to delude the people, or to abuse their under- 
standing by exercise of the pretended arts of witchcraft, conjur- 
ation, enchantment, or sorcery, or by pretended prophecies, shal 
be punished by ducking and whipping, at the discretion of a 
jury, not exceeding fifteen stripes.* 

If the principal offenders be fled,f or secreted from justice, in 
any case not touching life or member, the accessaries may, not- 
withstanding, be prosecuted as if their principal were convicted. J 

If any offender stand mute of obstinacy, 4 ^ or challenge peremp- 
torily more of the jurors than by law he may, being first warned 
of the consequence thereof, the court shall proceed as if he had 
confessed the charge. || 

restrain his criminal by walls, not by parcbment. As to strangers breaking prison to 
enlarge an offender, tbey should, and may be fairly considered as accessaries aftei 
the fact. This bill says nothing of the prisoner releasing himself by breacli of jail 
he will have the benefit of the first section of the bill, which repeals the judgment 
of life and death at the common law. 

* Gif wiccan owwe wigleras nansworan, owwe morthwyrhtan owwe fule afylede 
aebere horcwenan ahwhar on lande wurthan agytene, thonue fyrsie man of earde 
and clainsie tha theode, owwe on earde forfare hi mid ealle, butou hi geswican and 
the deeper gebetan : if witches, or weirds, man-swearers, or murther-wroughters, or 
foul, defiled, open whore-queens, aywhere in the land were gotten, then force them 
off earth, and cleanse the nation, or in earth forth- fare them withal, buton they be- 
seech, and deeply better. LI. Ed. et Guthr. c. 11. " Sagae, mulieres barbarn, facti- 
tantes sacrificia, suit pestiferi, si cui mortem intuleriut, neque id inficiari poterint, 
capitis poena esto." LI. Aethelst. c. 6. apud Lambard. LI. Aelfr. 30. LI. Cnuti. c. 4. 
"Mesme eel jugement (d'etrears) eyent sorcers, et sorceresses, <fcc. ut supra, Fleta ut 
et ubi supra. 3. Inst. 44. Trial of witches before Hale in 1664. The statutes 33 H. S. 
c. 8. 5. El. c. 1 6 and 1. Jac. 1. c. 1 2. seem to be only in confirmation of the Common law. 
9 G. 2. c. 25. punishes them with pillory, and a year's imprisonment. 3 E. 6. c. 15. 
5 El. c. 15. punish fond, fantastical and false prophecies, by fine and imprisonment. 

f 1 Ann. c. 9. 2. 

\ As every treason includes within it a misprision of treason, so every felony in- 
cludes a misprision, or misdemeanor. 1 Hale P. C. 652. 708. " Licet fuerit felonia, 
tamen in eo continetur misprisio." 2 R. 3 10. Both principal and accessary, there- 
fore, may be proceeded against in any case, either for felony or misprision, at the 
Commou law. Capital cases not being mentioned here, accessaries to theui will of 
course be triable for misprisions, if the offender flies. 

E. 1. c. 12. 

|| Whether the judgment of penance lay at Common law. See 2 Inst. 178. 2 H. 
P. C. 321. 4 BL 322. It was given on standing mute ; but on challenging more than 
the legal number, whether that sentence, or sentence of death is to be given, seems 


Pardon and Privilege of clergy, shall henceforth be abolished, 
that none may be induced to injure through hope of impunity. 
But if the verdict be against the defendant, and the court before 
whom the offence is heard and determined, shall doubt that it 
may be untrue for defect of testimony, or other cause, they may 
direct a new trial to be had.* 

doubtful. 2 II. P. C. 31G. Quaere, whether it would not be better to consider the 
supernumerary challenge as merely void, and to proceed in the trial ? Quaere too, 
in case of silence ? 

* " Cum Clericus sic de crimine couvictus degradetur non sequitur alia poena pro 
uno delicto, vel pluribus ante degradationcin perpetratis. Satis enim sufficit ei pro 
poena degradatio, quae est magna capitis diminutio, nisi forte convictus fuerit de 
apostatia, quia hinc primo degradetur, et postea per mauum laicalem comburetur, 
secundum quod accidit in concilio Oxoni celebrato a bouae memoriae S. Cautuanen. 
Archiepiscopo de quodani diacono, qui so apostatavit pro quadam Judaea ; qui cum 
esset per epi^copum degradalus, statim fuit igni traditus per manum laicalem." 
Bract. L. 3. c. 9. 2. " Et mesme eel jugement (i. e. qui ils soient ars) eyent sorcers 
et sorceresses, et sodomites et mescreauntz apertemeut atteyntz. Britt. c. 9. " Chris- 
tian! autem Apostatae, sortilegii, et hujusmodi dotractari debent et comburi." Fleta, 
L. 1. c. 37. 2. see 3. Inst. 39. 12. Rep. 92. 1. H. P. C. 393. The extent of the cler- 
ical privilege at the Common law. 1. As to the crimes, seems very obscure and un- 
certain. It. extended to no case where the judgment was not of life, or limb. Note 
in 2. H. P. C. 32G. This therefore excluded it in trespass, petty larceny, or killing 
se defendendo. In high treason against the person of the King, it seems not to have 
been allowed. Note 1. H. P. C. 185. Treasons, therefore, not against the King's 
person immediately, petty treasons and felonies, seem to have been the cases where 
it was allowed; and even of those, not for insidiatio variurn, depopulatio agrorum, 
or combustio domorum. The statute de Clero, 25. E. 3. st. 3. c. 4. settled the law on 
this head. 2. As to the persons, it extended to all clerks, always, and toties quo- 
ties. 2. H. P. C. 374. To nuns also. Fitz. Abr. Corone. 461. 22. E. 3. The clerical 
habit and tonsure were considered as evidence of the person being clerical. 26. 
Assiz. 19. 20. E. 2. Fitz. Corone. 233. By the 9. E. 4. 28. b. 34. H. 6. 49 a. b. simple 
reading became the evidence. This extended impunity to a great number of laymen, 
and toties quoties. The stat. 4. H. 7. c. 13. directed that real clerks should, upon a 
second arraignment, produce their order?, and all others to be burnt in the hand 
with M. or T. on the first allowance of clergy, and not to be admitted to it a second 
time. A heretic, Jew, or Turk (as being incapable of orders) could not have clergy. 
11. Co. Rep. 29 b. But a Greek, or other alien, reading in a book of his own coun- 
try, might. Bro. Clergie. 20. So a blind man, if he could speak Latin. Ib. 21. qu. 
11. Rep. 29. b. The orders entitling the party, were bishops, priests, deacons and 
subdeacons, the inferior being reckoned Clerici in minoribus. 2. H. P. C. 373. Qutere, 
however, if this distinction is not founded on the stat. 23. H. 8. c. 1. 25. H. 8. c. 32. 
By merely dropping all the statutes, it should seem that none but clerks would be 
entitled to this privilege, and that they would, toties quoties. 
VOL. I. 11 


No attainder shall work corruption of blood in any case. 

In all cases of forfeiture, the widow's dower shall be saved to 
her, during her title thereto ; after which it shall be disposed of 
as if no such saving had been. 

The aid of Counsel,* and examination of their witnesses on 
oath, shall be allowed to defendants in criminal prosecutions. 

Slaves guilty of any offencef punishable in others by labor in 
the public works, shall be transported to such parts in the West 
Indies, South America, or Africa, as the Governor shall direct, 
there to be continued in slavery. 

[NOTE P.] 

Notes on the Establishment of a Money Unit, and of a Coinage 
for the United States. 

In fixing the Unit of Money, these circumstances are of prin- 
cipal importance. 

I. That it be of convenient size to be applied as a measure to 
the common money transactions of life. 

II. That its parts and multiples be in an easy proportion to 
each other, so as to facilitate the money arithmetic. 

III. That the Unit and its parts, or divisions, be so nearly of 
the value of some of the known corns, as that they may be of easy 
adoption for the people. 

The Spanish Dollar seems to fulfil all these conditions. 

I. Taking into our view all money transactions, great and 
small, I question if a common measure of more convenient size 
than the Dollar could be proposed. The value of 100, 1000, 
10,000 dollars is well estimated by the mind ; so is that of the 
tenth or the hundredth of a dollar. Few transactions are above 

* 1. Ann. c. 9. 

f Manslaughter, counterfeiting, arson, aaportalion of vessels, robbery, burglary, 
house-breaking, horse-stealing, larceny. 


or below these limits. The expediency of attending to the size 
of the money Unit will be evident, to any one who will consider 
how inconvenient it would be to a manufacturer or merchant, if, 
instead of the yard for measuring cloth, either the inch or the 
mile had been made the Unit of Measure. 

II. The most easy ratio of multiplication and division, is that 
by ten. Every one knows the facility of Decimal Arithmetic. 
Every one remembers, that, when learning Money- Arithmetic, he 
used to be puzzled with adding the farthings, taking out the fours 
and carrying them on ; adding the pence, taking out the twelves 
and carrying them on ; adding the shillings, taking out the twen- 
ties and carrying them on ; but when he came to the pounds, 
where he had only tens to carry forward, it was easy and free 
from error. The bulk of mankind are school-boys through life. 
These little perplexities are always great to them. And even 
mathematical heads feel the relief of an easier, substituted for a 
more difficult process. Foreigners, too, who trade and travel 
among us, will find a great facility in understanding our coins 
and accounts from this ratio of subdivision. Those who have 
had occasion to convert the livres, sols, and deniers of the French ; 
the gilders, stivers, and frenings of the Dutch ; the pounds, shil- 
lings, pence, and farthings of these several States, into each other, 
can judge how much they would have been aided, had their 
several subdivisions been in a decimal ratio. Certainly, in all 
cases, where we are free to choose between easy and difficult 
modes of operation, it is most rational to choose the easy. The 
Financier, therefore, in his report, well proposes that our Coins 
should be in decimal proportions to one another. If we adopt 
the Dollar for our Unit, we should strike four coins, one of gold, 
two of silver, and one of copper, viz-. : 

1. A golden piece, equal in value to ten dollars : 

2. The Unit or Dollar itself, of silver : 

3. The tenth of a Dollar, of silver also : 

4. The hundredth of a Dollar, of copper. 

Compare the arithmetical operations, on the same sum of mo- 



ney expressed in this form, and expressed in the poand sterling 
and its division. 

s. d. qrs. Dollars. 

Addition. 8 13 11 1-2=38.65 
4 12 8 3-4=20.61 
"13 6 8 1-4=59.26 

Multiplication by 8. 
o. d. qrs. Dollars. 
8 13 11 1-2=38.65 
20 8 


s. d. qrs. Dollars. 
Subtraction. 8 13 11 1-2=38.65 
4 12 8 3-4=20.61 
1 ]T~2 3-4=18.04 

Division by 8. 

s. d. qrs. Dollars. 
8 13 11 1-2=8J 38.65 









4J 66.800 
12J 16700 
20J 1391 8 

69 11 8 


8J 8350 
4J 1043 
12J 260 34 
20J 21 8 3-4 
1 1 8 3-4 

A bare inspection of the above operations will evince the la- 
bor which is occasioned by subdividing the Unit into 20ths, 
240ths, and 960ths, as the English do, and as we have done ; 
and the ease of subdivision in a decimal ratio. The same differ- 
ence arises in making payment. An Englishman, to pay 8, 13s. 
\\d. 1-2 qrs., must find, by calculation, what combination of the 
coins of his country will pay this sum ; but an American, hav- 
ing the same sum to pay, thus expressed $38.65, will know, by 
inspection only, that three golden pieces, eight units or dollars, 
six tenths, and five coppers, pay it precisely. 

III. The third condition required is, that the Unit, its multiples, 
arid subdivisions, coincide in value with some of the known 
coins so nearly, that the people may, by a quick reference in the 
mind, estimate their value. If this be not attended to, they will 
be very long in adopting the innovation, if ever they adopt it. 
Let us examine, in this point of view, each of the four coins 

1. The golden piece will be 1-5 more than a half joe, and 


1-15 more than a double guinea. It will be readily estimated, 
then, by reference to either of them ; but more readily and ac- 
curately as equal to ten dollars. 

2. The Unit, or Dollar, is a known coin, and the most familiar 
of all, to the minds of the people. It is already adopted from 
South to North ; has identified our currency, and therefore hap- 
pily offers itself as a Unit already introduced. Our public debt, 
our requisitions, and their appointments, have given it actual 
and long possession of the place of Unit. The course of our 
commerce, too, will bring us more of this than of any other for- 
eign coin, and therefore renders it more worthy of attention. I 
know of no Unit which can be proposed in competition with the 
Dollar, but the Pound. But what is the Pound? 1547 grains of 
fine silver in Georgia ; 1289 grains in Virginia, Connecticut, 
Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire ; 1031 1-4 
grains in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey ; 
966 3-4 grains in North Carolina and New York. Which of 
these shall we adopt ? To which State give that pre-eminence 
of which all are so jealous ? And on which impose the difficul- 
ties of a new estimate of their corn, their cattle, and other com- 
modities ? Or shall we hang the pound sterling, as a common 
badge, about all their necks ? This contains 1718 3-4 grains of 
pure silver. It is difficult to familiarize a new coin to the peo- 
ple ; it is more difficult to familiarize them to a new coin with 
an old name. Happily, the dollar is familiar to them all, and is 
already as much referred to for a measure of value, as their re- 
spective provincial pounds. 

3. The tenth will be precisely the Spanish bit, or half pis- 
tereen. This is a coin perfectly familiar to us all. When we 
shall make a new coin, then, equal in value to this, it will be of 
ready estimate with the people. 

4. The hundredth, or copper, will differ little from the copper of 
the four Eastern States, which is 1-108 of a dollar ; still less from 
the penny of New York and North Carolina, which is 1-96 of a 
dollar ; and somewhat more from the penny or copper of Jersey, 
Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, which is 1-90 of a dollar. 


It will be about the medium between the old and the new coppers 
of these States, and will therefore soon be substituted for them 
both. In Virginia, coppers have never been in use. It will be 
as easy, therefore, to introduce them there of one value as of an- 
other. The copper coin proposed will be nearly equal to three- 
fourths of their penny, which is the same with the penny lawful 
of the Eastern States. 

A great deal of small change is useful in a State, and tends to 
reduce the price of small articles. Perhaps it would not be amiss 
to coin three more pieces of silver, one of the value of five-tenths, 
or half a dollar, one of the value of two-tenths, which would be 
equal to the Spanish pistereen, and one of the value of five cop- 
pers, which would be equal to the Spanish half-bit. We should 
then have five silver coins, viz.: 

1. The Unit or Dollar : 

2. The half dollar or five-tenths : 

3. The double tenth, equal to 2, or one-fifth of a dollar, or to 
the pistereen : 

4. The tenth, equal to a Spanish bit : 

5. The five copper piece, equal to .5, or one-twentieth of a 
dollar, or the half-bit. 

The plan reported by the Financier is worthy of his sound 
judgment. It admits, however, of objection, in the size of the 
Unit. He proposes that this shall be the 1440th part of a dollar : 
so that it will require 1440 of his units to make the one before 
proposed. He was led to adopt this by a mathematical attention 
to our old currencies, all of which this Unit will measure without 
leaving a fraction. But as our object is to get rid of those cur- 
rencies, the advantage derived from this coincidence will soon be 
past, whereas the inconveniences of this Unit will forever remain, 
if they do not altogether prevent its introduction. It is defective 
in two of the three requisites of a Money Unit. 1. It is incon- 
venient in its application to the ordinary money transactions. 
10.000 dollars will require eight figures to express them, to wit, 
14,400,000 units. A horse or bullock of eighty dollars value, 
will require a notation of six figures, to wii, 115,200 units. As 


a money of account, this will be laborious, even when facilitated 
by the aid of decimal arithmetic : as a common measure of the 
value of property, it will be too minute to be comprehended by 
the people. The French are subjected to very laborious calcula- 
tions, the Livre being their ordinary money of account, and this 
but between l-5th and l-6th of a dollar ; but what will be our 
labors, should our money of account be l-1440th of a dollar? 
2. It is neither equal, nor near to any of the known coins in 

If we determine that a Dollar shall be our Unit, we must then 
say with precision what a Dollar is. This coin, struck at different 
times, of different weights and fineness, is of different values. 
Sir Isaac Newton's assay and representation to the Lords of the 
Treasury, in 1717, of those which he examined, make their 
values as follows : 

dwts. grs. 

The Seville piece of eight . . 17 12 containing 387 grains of pure silver 
The Mexico piece of eight . . . 17 10 5-9 " 385 1-2 
The Pillar piece of eight . . 179 " 385 3-4 

The new Seville piece of eight . . 14 " 308 7-10 

The Financier states the old Dollar as containing 376 grains 
of fine silver, arid the new 365 grains. If the Dollars circulating 
among us be of every date equally, we should examine the quan- 
tity of pure metal in each, and from them form an average for 
our Unit. This is a work proper to be committed to mathemati- 
cians as well as merchants, and which should be decided on actual 
and accurate experiment. 

The quantum of alloy is also to be decided. Some is neces- 
sary, to prevent the coin from wearing too fast ; too much, fills 
our pockets with copper, instead of silver. The silver coin as- 
sayed by Sir Isaac Newton, varied from 1 1-2 to 76 pennyweights 
alloy, in the pound troy of mixed metal. The British standard 
has 18 dwt.; the Spanish coins assayed by Sir Isaac Newton, 
have from 18 to 19 1-2 dwt.; the new French crown has in fact 
19 1-2, though by edict, it should have 20 dwt., that is 1-12. 

The taste of our countrymen will require, that their furniture 


plate should be as good as the British standard. Taste cannot be 
controlled by law. Let it then give the law, in a point which is 
indifferent to a certain degree. Let the Legislature fix the alloy 
of furniture plate at 18 dwt, the British standard, and Congress 
that of their coin at one ounce in the pound, the French standard. 
This proportion has been found convenient for the alloy of gold 
coin, and it will simplify the system of our mint to alloy both 
metals in the same degree. The coin, too, being the least pure, 
will be the less easily melted into plate. These reasons are light, 
indeed, and, of course, will only weigh, if no heavier ones can 
be opposed to them. 

The proportion between the values of gold and silver is a 
mercantile problem altogether. It would be inaccurate to fix it 
by the popular exchanges of a half Joe for eight dollars, a Louis 
for four French crowns, or five Louis for twenty-three dollars. 
The first of these, would be to adopt the Spanish proportion be- 
tween gold and silver ; the second, the French ; the third, a 
mere popular barter, wherein convenience is consulted more than 
accuracy. The legal proportion in Spain is 16 for 1 ; in Eng- 
land, 15 1-2 for 1 ; in France, 15 for 1. The Spaniards and Eng- 
lish are found, in experience, to retain an over-proportion of gold 
coins, and to lose their silver. The French have a greater pro- 
portion of silver. The difference at market has been on the de- 
crease. The Financier states it at present, as at 14 1-2 for one. 
Just principles will lead us to disregard legal proportions altogeth- 
er ; to enquire into the market price of gold, in the several coun- 
tries with which we shall principally be connected in commerce, 
and to take an average from them. Perhaps we might, with safety, 
lean to a proportion somewhat above par for gold, considering our 
neighborhood, and commerce with the sources of the coins, and 
the tendency which the high price of gold in Spain has, to draw 
thither all that of their mines, leaving silver principally for our 
and other markets. It is not impossible that 15 for 1, may be 
found an eligible proportion. I state it, however, as a conjecture 

As to the alloy for gold coin, the British is an ounce in the 


pound; the French, Spanish, and Portuguese differ from that, 
only from a quarter of a grain, to a grain and a half. I should, 
therefore, prefer the British, merely because its fraction stands in 
a more simple form, and facilitates the calculations into which it 

Should the Unit be fixed at 365 grains of pure silver, gold at 
15 for 1, and the alloy of both be one-twelfth, the weight of the 
coins will be as follows : 

Grains. Grains. dwt Grains. 

The Golden piece containing 242 1-3 of pure metal, 22.12 of alloy, will weigh 111.45 

The Unit or Dollar . 365 ... 33.18 . . . 1614.18 

The half dollar, or five tenths, 182 1-2 ... 16.59 .... 8 7.09 

The fifth, or Pistereen, 73 ... 6.63 . . . 3 7.63 

The tenth, or Bit. . . 36 1-2 . . . 3.318 .... 115.818 

The twentieth, or half Bit, .181-1. . . 1.059 . . . 19.9 

The quantity of fine silver which shall constitute the Unit, 
being settled, and the proportion of the value of gold to that of 
silver ; a table should be formed from the assay before suggested, 
classing the several foreign coins according to their fineness, de- 
claring the worth of a pennyweight or grain in each 'class, and 
that they shall be lawful tenders at those rates, if not clipped or 
otherwise diminished ; and, where diminished, offering their value 
for them at the mint, deducting the expense of re-coinage. Here 
the Legislatures should co-operate with Congress, in providing 
that no money be received or paid at their treasuries, or by any 
of their officers, or any bank, but on actual weight ; in making 
it criminal, in a high degree, to diminish their own coins, and, in 
some smaller degree, to offer them in payment when diminished. 

That this subject may be properly prepared, and in readiness 
for Congress to take up at their meeting in November, something 
must now be done. The present session drawing to a close, they 
probably would not choose to enter far into this undertaking 
themselves. The Committee of the States, however, during the 
recess, will have time to digest it thoroughly, if Congress will 
fix some general principles for their government. Suppose they 
be instructed, 

To appoint proper persons to assay and examine, with the ut- 


most accuracy practicable, the Spanish milled dollars of different 
dates, in circulation with us. 

To assay and examine, in like manner, the fineness of all the 
other coins which may be found in circulation within these 

To report to the Committee the result of these assays, by them 
to be laid before Congress. 

To appoint, also, proper persons to enquire what are the pro- 
portions between the values of fine gold, and fine silver, at the 
markets of the several countries with which we are, or probably 
may be, connected in commerce ; and what would be a proper 
proportion here, having regard to the average of their values at 
those markets, and to other circumstances, and to report the same 
to the Committee, by them to be laid before Congress. 

To prepare an Ordinance for establishing the Unit of Money 
within these States ; for subdividing it ; and for striking coins of 
gold, silver, and copper, on the following principles : 

That the Money Unit of these States shall be equal in value 
to a Spanish milled dollar containing so much fine silver as the 
assay, before directed, shall show to be contained, on an average, 
in dollars of the several dates in circulation with us. 

That this Unit shall be divided into tenths and hundredths ; 
that there shall be a coin of silver of the value of a Unit ; one 
other of the same metal, of the value of one-tenth of a Unit ; one 
other of copper, of the value of the hundredth of a Unit. 

That there shall be a coin of gold of the value of ten Units, 
according to the report before directed, and the judgment of the 
Committee thereon. 

That the alloy of the said coins of gold and silver, shall be 
equal in weight to one-eleventh part of the fine metal. 

That there be proper devices for these coins. 

That measures be proposed for preventing their diminution, 
and also their currency, and that of any others, when diminished. 

That the several foreign coins be described and classed in the 
said Ordinance, the fineness of each class stated, and its value by 
weight estimated in Units and decimal parts of Units. 


And that the said draught of an Ordinance be reported to Con- 
gress at their next meeting, for their consideration and determi- 

Supplementary Explanations. 

The preceding notes having been submitted to the considera- 
tion of the Financier, he favored me with his opinion and obser- 
vations on them, which render necessary the following supple- 
mentary explanations. 

I observed, in the preceding notes, that the true proportion of 
value between gold and silver was a mercantile problem alto- 
gether, and that, perhaps, fifteen for one, might be found an 
eligible proportion. The Financier is so good as to inform me, 
that this would be higher than the market would justify. Con- 
fident of his better information on this subject, I recede from 
that idea.* 

He also informs me, that the several coins, in circulation 
among us, have been already assayed with accuracy, and the 
result published in a work on that subject. The assay of Sir 
Isaac Newton had superseded, in my mind, the necessity of this 
operation as to the older coins, which were the subject of his 
examination. This later work, with equal reason, may be con- 
sidered as saving the same trouble as to the latter coins. 

So far, then, I accede to the opinions of the Financier. On 
the other hand, he seems to concur with me, in thinking his 
smallest fractional division too minute for a Unit, and, therefore, 
proposes to transfer that denomination to his largest silver coin, 
containing 1000 of the units first proposed, and worth about 
4s. 2d. lawful, or 25-36 of a Dollar. The only question then 
remaining between us is, whether the Dollar, or this coin, be 

* In a newspaper, which frequently gives good details in political economy, I find, 
under the Hamburgh head, that the present market price of Gold and Silver is. iu 
England, 15.5 for 1 : in Russia, 15 : in Holland, 14.75 : iu Savoy, 14.6 : in France, 
14.42: in Spain, 14.3: in Germany, 14.155: the average of which is 14.675 or 14 
5-8. I would still incline to give a little more than the market price for gold, be- 
cause of its superior convenience in transportation. 


best for the Unit. We both agree that the ease of adoption with 
the people, is the thing to be aimed at. 

1. As to the Dollar, events have overtaken and superseded the 
question. It is no longer a doubt whether the people can adopt 
it with ease ; they have adopted it, and will have to be turned 
out of that, into another tract of calculation, if another Unit be 
assumed. They have now two Units, which they use with 
equal facility, viz., the Pound of their respective State, and the 
Dollar. The first of these is peculiar to each State : the second, 
happily, common to all. In each State, the people have an easy 
rule of converting the pound of their State into dollars, or dol- 
lars into pounds ; and this is enough for them, without knowing 
how this may be done in every State of the Union. Such of 
them as live near enough the borders of their State to have deal- 
ings with their neighbors, learn also the rule of their neighbors : 
thus, in Virginia and the Eastern States, where the dollar is 6s. 
or 3-10 of a pound, to turn pounds into dollars, they multiply 
by 10 and divide by 3. To turn dollars into pounds, they mul- 
tiply by 3, and divide by 10. Those in Virginia who live near 
to Carolina, Avhcre the dollar is 8s. or 4-10 of a pound, learn the 
operation of that State, which is a multiplication by 4, and divi- 
sion by 10, et e converse. Those who live near Maryland, 
where the dollar is 7s. 6d. or 3-8 of a pound, multiply by 3, and 
divide by 8, ct e converso. All these operations are easy, and 
have been found, by experience, not too much for the arith- 
metic of the people, when they have occasion to convert their 
old Unit into dollars, or the reverse. 

2. As to the Unit of the Financier; in the States where the 
dollars is 3-10 of a pound, this Unit will be 5-24. Its conversion 
into the pound then, will be by a multiplication of 5, and a di- 
vision by 24. In the States where the dollar is 3-8 of a pound, 
this Unit will be 25-96 of a pound, and the operation must be to 
multiply by 25, and divide by 96, et e converso. Where the 
dollar is 4-10 of a pound, this Unit will be 5-18. The simplicity 
of the fraction, and of course the facility of conversion arid recon- 
version, is therefore against this Unit, and in favor of the dollar, in 


every instance. The only advantage it has over the dollar, is, that 
it will in every case express our farthing without a remainder ; 
whereas, though the dollar and its decimals will do this in many 
cases, it will not in all. But, even in these, by extending your 
notation one figure further, to wit, to thousands, you approximate 
to perfect accuracy within less than the two-thousandth part of a 
dollar ; an atom in money which every one would neglect. Against 
this single inconvenience, the other advantages of the dollar are 
more than sufficient to preponderate. This Unit will present to 
the people a new coin, and whether they endeavor to estimate its 
value by comparing it with a Pound, or with a Dollar, the Units 
they now possess, they will find the fraction very compound, and 
of course less accommodated to their comprehension and habits 
than the dollar. Indeed the probability is, that they could never 
be led to compute in it generally. 

The Financier supposes that the 1-100 part of a dollar is not suffi- 
ciently small, where the poor are purchasers or vendors. If it is 
not, make a smaller coin. But I suspect that it is small enough. 
Let us examine facts, in countries where we are acquainted with 
them. In Virginia, where our towns are few, small, and of course 
their demand for necessaries very limited, we have never yet been 
able to introduce a copper coin at all. The smallest coin which 
anybody will receive there, is the half-bit, or 1-20 of a dollar. In 
those States where the towns are larger and more populous, a 
more habitual barter of small wants, has called for a copper coin 
of 1-90, 1-96, or 1-108 of a dollar. In England, where the towns 
are many and populous, and where ages of experience have ma- 
tured the conveniences of intercourse, they have found that some 
wants may be supplied for a farthing, or 1-208 of a dollar, and 
they have accommodated a coin to this want. This business is 
evidently progressive. In Virginia, we are far behind. In some 
other States, they are further advanced, to wit, to the appreciation 
of 1-90, 1-96, 1-108 of a dollar. To this most advanced state, 
then, I accommodated my smallest coin in the decimal arrange 
ment, as a money of payment, corresponding with the money of 
account. I have no doubt the time will come when a smallei 


coin will be called for. When that comes, let it be made. It 
will probably be the half of the copper I suppose, that is to say, 
5-1000 or .005 of a dollar, this being very nearly the farthing of 
England. But it will be time enough to make it, when the peo- 
ple shall be ready to receive it. 

My proposition then, is, that our notation of money shall be 
decimal, descending ad libitum of the person noting ; that the 
Unit of this notation shall be a Dollar ; that coins shall be ac- 
commodated to it from ten dollars to the hundreth of a dollar 
and that, to set this on foot, the resolutions be adopted which 
were proposed in the notes, only substituting an enquiry into the 
fineness of the coins in lieu of an assay of them. 

[NOTE G.] 

I have sometimes asked myself, whether my country is the 
better for my having lived at all ? I do not know that it is. I 
have been the instrument of doing the following things ; but they 
would have been done by others ; some of them, perhaps, a little 

The Rivanna had never been used for navigation ; scarcely an 
empty canoe had ever passed down it. Soon after I came of age, 
I examined its obstructions, set on foot a subscription for remov- 
ing them, got an Act of Assembly passed, and the thing effected, 
so as to be used completely and fully for carrying down all our 

The Declaration of Independence. 

I proposed the demolition of the church establishment, and the 
freedom of religion. It could only be done by degrees ; to wit, 
the Act of 1776, c. 2. exempted dissenters from contributions to 
the Church, and left the Church clergy to be supported by volun- 
tary contributions of their own sect ; was continued from year to 
year, and made perpetual 1779, c. 36. I prepared the act for re- 
ligious freedom in 1777, as part of the revisal, which was not 


reported to the Assembly till 1779, and that particular law not 
passed till 1785, and then by the efforts of Mr. Madison. 

The act putting an end to entails. 

The act prohibiting the importation of slaves. 

The act concerning citizens, and establishing the natural right 
of man to expatriate himself, at will. 

The act changing the course of descents, and giving the in- 
heritance to all the children, &c., equally, I drew as part of the 

The act for apportioning crimes and punishments, part of the 
same work, I drew. When proposed to the legislature, by Mr. 
Madison, in 1785, it failed by a single vote. G. K. Taylor after- 
wards, in 1796, proposed the same subject ; avoiding the adoption 
of any part of the diction of mine, the text of which had been 
studiously drawn in the technical terms of the law, so as to give 
no occasion for new questions by new expressions. When I drew 
mine, public labor was thought the best punishment to be substi- 
tuted for death. But, while I was in France, I heard of a society 
in England, who had successfully introduced solitary confine- 
ment, and saw the drawing of a prison at Lyons, in France, 
formed on the idea of solitary confinement. And, being applied to 
by the Governor of Virginia for the plan of a Capitol and Prison, 
I sent him the Lyons plan, accompanying it with a drawing on a 
smaller scale, better adapted to our use. This was in June, 1786. 
Mr. Taylor very judiciously adopted this idea, (which had now 
been acted on in Philadelphia, probably from the English model) 
and substituted labor in confinement, to the public labor proposed 
by the Committee of revisal ; which themselves would have done, 
had they been to act on the subject again. The public mind 
was ripe for this in 1796, when Mr. Taylor proposed it, and 
ripened chiefly by the experiment in Philadelphia ; whereas, in 
1785, when it had been proposed to our Assembly, they were not 
quite ripe for it. 

In 1789 and 1790, 1 had a great number of olive plants, of the 
best kind, sent from Marseilles to Charleston, for South Carolina 
and Georgia. They were planted, and are flourishing ; and, 


though not yet multiplied, they will be the germ of that cultiva- 
tion in those States. 

In 1790, 1 got a cask of heavy upland rice, from the river Den- 
bigh, in Africa, about lat. 9 30' North, which I sent to Charles- 
ton, in hopes it might supersede the culture of the wet rice, which 
renders South Carolina and Georgia so pestilential through the 
summer. It was divided, and a part sent to Georgia. I know 
not whether it has been attended to in South Carolina ; but it 
has spread in the upper parts of Georgia, so as to have become 
almost general, and is highly prized. Perhaps it may answer in 
Tennessee and Kentucky. The greatest service which can be 
rendered any country is, to add an useful plant to its culture ; 
especially, a bread grain ; next in value to bread is oil. 

Whether the act for the more general diffusion of knowledge 
will ever be carried into complete e fleet, I know not. It was re- 
ceived by the legislature with great enthusiasm at first ; and a 
small effort was made in 1796, by the act to establish public 
schools, to carry a part of it into effect, viz., that for the estab- 
lishment of free English schools ; but the option given to the 
courts has defeated the intention of the act.* 

[NOTE H.] 

New York, October 13, 1789. 


In the selection of characters to fill the important offices of 
Government, in the United States, I was naturally led to contem- 
plate the talents and dispositions which I knew you to possess and 
entertain for the service of your country ; and without being able 
to consult your inclination, or to derive any knowledge of your 
intention from your letters, either to myself or to any other of 

[* It appears, from a blank space at the bottom of this paper, that a continua- 
tion had been intended. Indeed, from the loose manner in which the above notes 
are written, it may be inferred, that they were originally intended as memoranda 
only, to be used in some more permanent form.] 


your friends, I was determined, as well by motives of private re- 
gard, as a conviction of public propriety, to nominate you for the 
Department of State, which, under its present organization, in- 
volves many of the most interesting objects of the Executive 
authority. But grateful as your acceptance of this commission 
would be to me, I am, at the same time, desirous to accommodate 
your wishes, and I have, therefore, forborne to nominate your 
successor at the court of Versailles, until I should be informed 
of your determination. 

Being on the eve of a journey through the Eastern States, with 
a view to observe the situation of the country, and in a hope of 
perfectly re-establishing my health, which a series of indisposi- 
tions has much impaired, I have deemed it proper to make this 
communication of your appointment, in order that you might 
lose no time, should it be your wish to visit Virginia during the 
recess of Congress, which will probably be the most convenient 
season, both as it may respect your private concerns and the 
public service. 

Unwilling, as I am, to interfere in the direction of your choice 
of assistants, I shall only take the liberty of observing to you, 
that from warm recommendations which I have received in be- 
half of Roger Alden, Esq., assistant Secretary to the late Congress, 
I have placed all the papers thereunto belonging, under his care. 
Those papers which more properly appertain to the office of 
Foreign Affairs, are under the superintendence of Mr. Jay, who 
has been so obliging as to continue his good offices, and they are 
in the immediate charge of Mr. Remsen. 

With sentiments of very great esteem and regard, 
I have the honor to be, sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 

The Honorable Thomas Jefferson. 

I take this occasion to acknowledge the receipt of your several 
favors, of the 4th and 5th of December of the last, and 10th of 
May of the present year, and to thank you for the communica- 
tions therein. G. W. 

VOL i. 12 


New York, November 30, 1789. 


You will perceive by the enclosed letter, (which was left for 
you at the office of Foreign Affairs, when I made a journey to 
the Eastern States,) the motives on which I acted with regard to 
yourself, and the occasion of my explaining them at that early 

Having now reason to hope, from Mr. Trumbull's report, that 
you will be arrived at Norfolk before this time, (on which event 
I would most cordially congratulate you,) and having a safe con- 
veyance by Mr. Griffin, I forward your commission to Virginia ; 
with a request to be-made acquainted with your sentiments as soon 
as you shall find it convenient to communicate them to me. 
With sentiments of very great esteem and regard, 
I am, dear sir, 

Your most obedient humble servant, 

The Honorable Thomas Jefferson. 


HIS DEATH, 1790-1826. 


THIS division of the work includes all the Correspondence, official and private, of 
Thomas Jefferson, from 1762 to his death in 1826, which possesses general interest 
or permanent public value. For the purpose of easy reference, it has been classified 
as follows: 

in this division, consist principally of the private correspondence of the Author's 
youth, and his official letters while Governor of Virginia. The former are interest- 
ing mainly as illustrating his character, his views, and his purposes in life. The 
latter, relating to the period of the invasion of Virginia, and the military operations 
in the South, possess no inconsiderable historical value. 

PAET II. LETTERS WRITTEN WHILE IN EUROPE. The letters included in this divi- 
sion, relate principally to the objects of his mission to Europe his efforts to extend 
the commercial relations of this country with the European nations the history of 
particular treaties of commerce piratical depredations upon our commerce by the 
Barbary States our Foreign Debt our relations generally with Europe the rise 
and progress of the French Revolution through its early stages his views of the 
Confederation and the new Constitution the political and social condition of Europe, 
<tc., all interspersed with the reflections by the Author upon every variety of topic, 
literary, scientific, social, and political. 

OF HIS DEATH. To the great majority of readers, this will be found to be much the 
most interesting division of the work, ranging, as it does, over the whole field of Lit- 
erature, Philosophy, Science, Religion, Morals, History, and Politics, and embodying 
the mature views of the Author upon nearly all the great Constitutional questions 
which have arisen under our Government, and many of the most important prob- 
lems which have agitated the world. 





FAIEFIELD, December 25, 1762. 

DEAR PAGE, This very day, to others the day of greatest mirth 
and jollity, sees me overwhelmed with more and greater mis- 
fortunes than have befallen a descendant of Adam for these thou- 
sand years past, lam sure ; and perhaps, after excepting Job, since 
the creation of the world. I think his misfortunes were somewhat 
greater than mine ; for, although we may be pretty nearly on 
a level in other respects, yet, I thank my God, I have the ad- 
vantage of brother Job in this, that Satan has not as yet put 
forth his hand to load me with bodily afflictions. You must 
know, dear Page, that I am now in a house surrounded with 
enemies, who take counsel together against my soul ; and when 
I lay me down to rest, they say among themselves, come let us 
destroy him. I am sure if there is such a thing as a Devil in 
this world, he must have been here last night, and have had 
some hand in contriving what happened to me. Do you think 
the cursed rats (at his instigation, I suppose) did not eat up my 
pocket-book, which was in my pocket, within a foot of my 
head ? And not contented with plenty for the present, they 
carried away my jemmy-worked silk garters, and half a dozen 
new minuets I had just got, to serve, I suppose, as provision for 
the winter. But of this I should not have accused the Devil, 
(because, you know rats will be rats, and hunger, without the 
addition of his instigations, might have urged them to do this,) 


if something worse, and from a different quarter, had not hap- 
pened. You know it rained last night, or if you do not know 
it, I am sure I do. When I went to bed, I laid my watch in 
the usual place, and going to take her up after I arose this 
morning, I found her in the same place, it's true, but Quantum 
mutatus ab illo ! all afloat in water, let in at a leak in the roof 
of the house, and as silent and still as the rats that had eat my 
pocket-book. Now, you know, if chance had had anything to 
do in this matter, there were a thousand other spots where it 
might have chanced to leak as well as at this one, which was 
perpendicularly over my watch. But I'll tell you, it's my 
opinion that the Devil came and bored the hole over it on pur- 
pose. Well, as I was saying, my poor watch had lost her 
speech. I should not have cared much for this, but something 
worse attended it ; the subtle particles of the water with which 
the case was filled, had, by their penetration, so overcome the 
cohesion of the particles of the paper, of which my dear picture 
and watch-paper were composed, that, in attempting to take 
them out to dry them, good God ! Mens horret referre ! My 
cursed fingers gave them such a rent, as I fear I never shall get 
over. This, cried I, was the last stroke Satan had in reserve for 
me ; he knew I cared not for anything else he could do to me, 
and was determined to try his last most fatal expedient. "Multis 
fortuncB milneribus percussus, huic uni me imparem se?isi, et 
penitus succubui /" I would have cried bitterly, but I thought 
it beneath the dignity of a man, and a man too, who had read 
7o*>' otjuf, TU /JEV fqp'TJwo', in d'ax etp'^uiv. However, whatever mis- 
fortunes may attend the picture or lover, my hearty prayers shall 
be, that all the health and happiness which Heaven can send 
may be the portion of the original, and that so much goodness 
may ever meet with what may be most agreeable in this world, 
as I am sure it must be in the next. And now, although the 
picture be defaced, there is so lively an image of her imprinted 
in my mind, that I shall think of her too often, I fear, for my 
peace of mind ; and too often, I am sure, to get through old 
Coke this winter ; for God knows I have not seen him since I 


packed him up in my trunk in Williamsburg. Well, Page, I 
do wish the Devil had old Coke, for I am sure I never was so 
tired of an old dull scoundrel in my life. What ! are there so 
few inquietudes tacked to this momentary life of ours, that we 
must need be loading ourselves with a thousand more ? Or, as 
brother Job says, (who, by-the-bye, I think began to whine a lit- 
tle under his afflictions,) "Are not my days few? Cease then, 
that I may take comfort a little before I go whence I shall not 
return, even to the land of darkness, and the shadow of death." 
But the old fellows say we must read to gain knowledge, and 
gain knowledge to make us happy and admired. Mere jargon ! 
Is there any such thing as happiness in this world ? No. And as 
for admiration, I am sure the man who powders most, perfumes 
most, embroiders most, and talks most nonsense, is most admired. 
Though to be candid, there are some who have too much good 
sense to esteem such monkey-like animals as these, in whose 
formation, as the saying is, the tailors and barbers go halves with 
God Almighty ; and since these are the only persons whose es- 
teem is worth a wish, I do not know but that, upon the whole, 
the advice of these old fellows may be worth following. 

You cannot conceive the satisfaction it would give me to 
have a letter from you. Write me very circumstantially every- 
thing which happened at the wedding. Was she there ? be- 
cause, if she was, I ought to have been at the Devil for not be- 
ing there too. If there is any news stirring in town or country, 
such as deaths, courtships, or marriages, in the circle of my ac- 
quaintance, let me know it. Remember me affectionately to 
all the young ladies of my acquaintance, particularly the Miss 
Burwells, and Miss Potters, and tell them that though that heavy 
earthly part of me, my body, be absent, the better half of me, 
my soul, is ever with them, and that my best wishes shall ever 
attend them. Tell Miss Alice Corbin that I verily believe the 
rats knew I was to win a pair of garters from her, or they n^er 
would have been so cruel as to carry mine away. This very 
consideration makes me so sure of the bet, that I shall ask every- 
body I see from that part of the world what pretty gentleman 


is making his addresses to her. I would fain ask the favor of 
Miss Becca Burwell to give me another watch-paper of her own 
cutting, which I should esteem much more, though it were a 
plain round one, than the nicest in the world cut by other 
hands ; however, I am afraid she would think this presumption, 
after my suffering the other to get spoiled. If you think you 
can excuse me to her for this, I should be glad if you would 
ask her. Tell Miss Sukey Potter that I heard, just before I 
came out of town, that she was offended with me about some- 
thing, what it is I do not know ; but this I know, that I never 
was guilty of the least disrespect to her in my life, either in 
word or deed ; as far from it as it has been possible for one to 
be. I suppose when we meet next, she will be endeavoring to 
repay an imaginary affront with a real one ; but she may save 
herself the trouble, for nothing that she can say or do to me 
shall ever lessen her in my esteem, and I am determined always 
to look upon her as the same honest-hearted, good-humored, 
agreeable lady I ever did. Tell tell in short, tell them all 
ten thousand things more than either you or I can now or ever 
shall think of as long as we live. 

My mind has been so taken up with thinking of my acquaint- 
ances, that, till this moment, I almost imagined myself in Wii- 
liamsburg, talking to you in our old unreserved way ; and never 
observed, till I turned over the leaf, to what an immoderate size 
I had swelled my letter; however, that I may not tire your 
patience by further additions, I will make but this one more, that 
I am sincerely and affectionately, 

Dear Page, your friend and servant. 

P. S. I am now within an easy day's ride of Shad well, whither 
I shall proceed in two or three days. 


SHADWKLL, Jan. 20, 1763. 

DEAR PAGE, To tell you the plain truth, I have not a syllable to 
write to you about. For I do not conceive that anything can happen 


in my world which you would give a curse to know, or I either. 
All things here appear to me to trudge on in one and the same 
round : we rise in the morning that we may eat breakfast, dinner 
and supper, and go to bed again that we may get up the next 
morning and do the same : so that you never saw two peas more 
alike than our yesterday and to-day. Under these circumstances, 
what would you have me say ? Would you that I should write 
nothing but truth ? I tell you I know nothing that is true. Or 
would you rather that I should write you a pack of lies ? Why, 
unless they were more ingenious than I am able to invent, they 
would furnish you with little amusement. What can I do then ? 
nothing, but ask you the news in your world. How have you 
done since I saw you ? How did Nancy look at you when you 
danced with her at Southall's ? Have you any glimmering of 
hope ? How does R. B. do ? Had 1 better stay here and do no- 
thing, or go down and do less ? or, in other words, had I better 
stay here while I am here, or go down that I may have the pleas- 
ure of sailing up the river again in a full-rigged flat ? Inclination 
tells me to go, receive my sentence, and be no longer in suspense ; 
but reason says, if you go, and your attempt proves unsuccessful, 
you will be ten times more wretched than ever. In my last to 
you, dated Fail-field, Dec. 25, I wrote to you of the losses I had 
sustained ; in the present I may mention one more, which is the 
loss of the whites of my eyes, in the room of which I have got 
reds, which gives me such exquisite pain that I have not at- 
tempted to read anything since a few days after Jack Walker 
went down, and God knows when I shall be able to do it. I 
have some thoughts of going to Petersburg, if the actors go 
there in May. If I do, I do not know but I may keep on to 
Williamsburg, as the birth night will be near. I hear that Ben 
Harrison has been to Wilton : let me know his success. Have 
you an inclination to travel, Page ? because if you have, I shall 
be glad of your company. For you must know that as soon 
as the Rebecca (the name I intend to give the vessel above 
mentioned) is completely finished, I intend to hoist sail and 
away. I shall visit particularly England, Holland, France. 


Spain, Italy, (where I would buy me a good fiddle,) and Egypt, 
and return through the British provinces to the Northward 
home. This to be sure, would take us two or three years, and 
if we should not both be cured of love in that time, I think the 
devil would be in it. After desiring you to remember me to 
acquaintances below, male and female, I subscribe myself, 

Dear Page, your friend and servant. 


SHADWELL, July 15th, 1763. 

DEAR PAGE, Yours of May 30th came safe to hand. The rival 
you mentioned I know not whether to think formidable or not, as 
there has been so great an opening for him during my absence. I 
say has been, because I expect there is one no longer. Since you 
have undertaken to act as my attorney, you advise me to go im- 
mediately and lay siege inform. You certainly did not think, 
at the time you wrote this, of that paragraph in my letter 
wherein I mentioned to you my resolution of going to Britain. 
And to begin an affair of that kind now, and carry it on so long 
a time in form, is by no means a proper plan. No, no, Page ; 
whatever assurances I may give her in private of my esteem for 
her, or whatever assurances I may ask in return from her, depend 
on it they must be kept in private. Necessity will oblige me to 
proceed in a method which is not generally thought fair ; that of 
treating with a ward before obtaining the approbation of her 
guardian. I say necessity will oblige me to it, because I never 
can bear to remain in suspense so long a time. If I am to suc- 
ceed, the sooner I know it, the less uneasiness I shall have to go 
through. If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I 
know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off; and if I do 
meet with one, I hope in God, and verily believe, it will be the 
last. I assure you, that I almost envy you your present freedom ; 
and if Belinda will not accept of my service, it shall never be 
offered to another. That she may, I pray most sincerely ; but 


that she will, she never gave me reason to hope. With regard 
to my not proceeding in form, I do not know how she may like 
it. I am afraid not much. That her guardians would not, if 
they should know of it, is very certain. But I should think that 
if they were consulted after I return, it would be sufficient. The 
greatest inconvenience would be my not having the liberty of 
visiting so freely. This is a subject worth your talking over 
with her ; and I wish you would, and would transmit to me your 
whole confab at length. I should be scared to death at making 
her so unreasonable a proposal as that of waiting until I return 
from Britain, unless she could first be prepared for it. I am afraid 
it will make my chance of succeeding considerably worse. But 
the event at last must be this, that if she consents, I shall be 
happy ; if she does not, I must endeavor to be as much so as 
possible. I have thought a good deal on your case, and as mine 
may perhaps be similar, I must endeavor to look on it in the 
same light in which I have often advised you to look on yours. 
Perfect happiness, I believe, was never intended by the Deity to 
be the lot of one of his creatures in this world ; but that he has 
very much put in our power the nearness of our approaches to it, 
is what I have steadfastly believed. 

The most fortunate of us, in our journey through life, frequently 
meet with calamities and misfortunes which may greatly afflict 
us ; and, to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calami- 
ties and misfortunes, should be one of the principal studies and 
endeavors of our lives. The only method of doing this is to as- 
sume a perfect resignation to the Divine will, to consider that 
whatever does happen, must happen ; and that, by our uneasiness, 
we cannot prevent the blow before it does fall, but we may add 
to its force after it has fallen. These considerations, and others 
such as these, may enable us in some measure to surmount the 
difficulties thrown in our way ; to bear up with a tolerable degree 
of patience under this burthen of life ; and to proceed with a 
pious and unshaken resignation, till we arrive at our journey's 
end, when we may deliver up our trust into the hands of him 
who gave it, and receive such reward as to him shall seem pro- 


portioned to our merit. Such, dear Page, will be the language of 
the man who considers his situation in this life, and such should 
be the language of every man who would wish to render that 
situation as easy as the nature of it will admit. Few things will 
disturb him at all : nothing will disturb him much. 

If this letter was to fall into the hands of some of our gay ac- 
quaintance, your correspondent and his solemn notions \\rould 
probably be the subjects of a great deal of mirth and raillery, but 
to you, I think, I can venture to send it. It is in effect a contin- 
uation of the many conversations we have had on subjects of this 
kind ; and I heartily wish we could now continue these conver- 
sations face to face. The time will not be very long now before 
we may do it, as I expect to be in Williamsburg by the first of 
October, if not sooner. I do not know that I shall have occasion 
to return, if I can rent rooms in town to lodge in ; and to prevent 
the inconvenience of moving my lodgings for the future, I think 
to build : no castle though, I assure you ; only a small house, 
which shall contain a room for myself and another for you, and 
no more, unless Belinda should think proper to favor us with her 
company, in which case I will enlarge the plan as much as she 
pleases. Make my compliments to her particularly, as also to 
Sukey Potter, Judy Burwell, and such others of my acquaintance 
as enquire after me. I am, 

Dear Page, your sincere friend. 


WILLIAMSBURG, October 1. 1763. 

DEAR PAGE, In the most melancholy fit that ever any poor 
soul was, I sit down to write to you. Last night, as merry as 
agreeable company and dancing with Belinda in the Apollo could 
make me, I never could have thought the succeeding sun would 
have seen me so wretched as I now am ! I was prepared to say 
a great deal : I had dressed up, in my own mind, such thoughts as 
occurred to me, in as moving a language as I knew how, and 


expected to have performed in a tolerably creditable manner. 
* But, good God ! When I had an opportunity of venting them, a 
few broken sentences, uttered in great disorder, and interrupted 
with pauses of uncommon length, were the too visible marks of 
my strange confusion ! The whole confab I will tell you, word 
for word, if I can, when I see you, which God send may be 
soon. Affairs at W. and M. are in the greatest confusion. Walker, 
M'Clurg and Wat Jones are expelled pro tempore, or, as Horrox 
softens it, rusticated for a month. Lewis Burwell, Warner 
Lewis, and one Thompson, have fled to escape flagellation. I 
should have excepted Warner Lewis, who came off of his own 
accord. Jack Walker leaves town on Monday. The court is 
now at hand, which I must attend constantly, so that unless you 
come to town, there is little probability of my meeting with you 
anywhere else. For God sake come. I am, dear Page, your 
sincere friend. 


DEVILSBUEG, January 19, 1764. 

The contents of your letter have not a little alarmed me ; and 
really, upon seriously weighing them with what has formerly 

passed between and myself, I am somewhat at a loss 

what to conclude; your "semper saltat, semper ridet, semper 
loquitur, semper solicitat," &c., appear a little suspicious, but good 
God ! it is impossible ! I told you our confab in the Apollo ; but 
I believe I never told you that we had on another occasion. I 
then opened my mind more freely, and more fully. I mentioned 
the necessity of my going to England, and the delays which 
would consequently be occasioned by that. I said in what man- 
ner I should conduct myself till then, and explained my reasons, 
which appears to give that satisfaction I could have wished ; in 
short, I managed in such a manner that I was tolerable easy my- 
self, without doing anything which could give u8 !,).* ;S* friends 
the least umbrage, were the whole that passed to be related to 
them. I asked no question which would admit of a categorical 


answer ; but I assured advifafi that such questions would one day 
be asked in short, were I to have another interview with him, 
I could say nothing now which I did not say then ; and were I, 
with a view of obtaining one, licentiam solidtandi aliis, quibus 
degit postulare, it would be previously necessary to go the rounds 
cum custodibus ; and after all this, he could be in no other situa- 
tion than he is at present. After the proofs I have given of my 
sincerity, he can be under no apprehension of a change in my 
sentiments ; and were I to do as my friends advise me, I would 
give no better security than he has at present. He is satisfied 
that I shall make him an offer, and if he intends to accept of it, 
he will disregard those made by others ; my fate depends on 
c6vi\ei?( present resolutions, by them I must stand or fall if 
they are not favorable to me, it is out of my power to say any- 
thing to make them so which I have not said already ; so that a 
visit could not possibly be of the least weight, and it is, I am 
sure, what he does not in the least expect. I hear you are court- 
ing F - y B - 1, but shall not listen to it till I hear it from 
you. When I was up the country, I wrote a letter to you, dated 
Fairneld, Dec. 25, 1763 ; let me know if you have received such 
a one. As I suppose you do not use your Statutes of Britain, if 
you can lend them to me, till I can provide myself with a copy, 
it will infinitely oblige me. Adieu, dear Page. 


DEVII.SBURG,* January 23, 1764. 

DEAR PAGE, I received your letter of Wednesday, the 18th 
instant ; in that, of this day, you mention one which you wrote 
last Friday, and sent by the Secretary's boy ; but I have neither 
seen nor heard of such a one. God send mine of January 19 to 
you may not have shared the same fate ; for, by your letter, I am 
uncertain whether you have received it or not ; you therein say, 
" you hope to have received an answer from me by this time," 

* From this designation of the ancient metropolis, it would seem even then to have 
been no favorite with him. 


by which I judge it has miscarried ; but you mention mine of 
December 25th, which put me in spirits again, as I do not know 
how you should have got intelligence that I had wrote such a 
one, unless you had seen my letter of Jan. 19, in which it was 
mentioned yes, there is one other way by which you might 
have received such intelligence. My letter of Jan. 19 may have 
been opened, and the person who did it may have been further 
incited by curiosity, to ask you if you had received such a letter 
as they saw mentioned therein ; but God send, and I hope this 
is not the case. Sukey Potter, to whom I sent it, told me yes- 
terday she delivered it to Mr. T. Nelson, the younger, who had 
delivered it to you I hope with his own hand. I wish I had 
followed your example, and wrote it in Latin, and that I had 
called my dear campana in die* instead of atrtfap. 

We must fall on some scheme of communicating our thoughts 
to each other, which shall be totally unintelligible to every one 
but to ourselves. I will send you some of these days Shelton's 
Tachygraphical Alphabet, and directions. Jack Walker is en- 
gaged to Betsey Moore, and desired all his brethren might be 
made acquainted with his happiness. But I hear he will not be 
married this year or two. Put campana in die in mind of me ; 
tell him I think as I always did. I have sent my horses up the 
country, so that it is out of my power to take even an airing on 
horseback at any time. My paper holds out no longer, so must 
bid you adieu. 


DEVILSBURG, April, 9, 1764. 

DEAR PAGE, This letter will be conveyed to you by the as- 
sistance of our friend Warner Lewis. Poor fellow ! never did 

* The lady here alluded to is manifestly the Miss Rebecca Burwell mentioned in 
his first letter ; but what suggested the quaint designations of her is not so obvious. 
In the first of them, Belinda, translated into dog Latin, which was there, as else- 
where, among the facelift of young collegians, became campana in die, that is bell in 
day. In the second, the name is reversed, and becomes adnileb, which, for further 
security, is written in Greek characters, and the lady spoken of in the masculine 


I see one more sincerely captivated in my life. He walked to 
the Indian camp with her yesterday, by which means he had an 
opportunity of giving her two or three love squeezes by the 
hand ; and, like a true arcadian swain, has been so enraptured 

ever since, that he is company for no one. B y has at last 

bestowed her hand on B d ; and whether it was for money, 

beauty, or principle, will be so nice a dispute, that no one will 
venture to pronounce. Two days before the wedding I was not 
a little surprised, on going to the door at my house, to see him 
alight from his horse. He stepped up to me, and desired the 
favor of me to come to Mr. Yates' at such a time. It was so 
unexpected, that for some time I could make no reply ; at last, I 
said " yes," and turned about and walked back into my room. I 
accordingly attended, and to crown the joke, when I got there, 
was dubbed a bridesman. There were many other curious cir- 
cumstances too tedious to mention here. Jack Walker is ex- 
pected in town to-morrow. How does your pulse beat after 
your trip to the Isle of Wight ? What a high figure I should 
have cut, had I gone ! When I heard who visited you there, I 
thought I had met with the narrowest escape in the world. I 
wonder how I should have behaved I am sure I should have 
been at a great loss. If your mistress can spare you a little time, 
your friends here would be very glad to see you, particularly 
Small and myself, as everything is now ready for taking the 
height of this place above the \vater of the creeks. Fleming's 
relapse will justly afford you great matter of triumph, after rally- 
ing you so much on being in love. 

Adieu, dear Page. 

P. S. Walker is just arrived he goes out of town on Wednes- 
day, and will return again in about three weeks. 



CUARLOTTESVILLE. Feb. 21, 1770. 

DEAR PAGE, I am to acquaint Mrs. Page of the loss of my fa- 
vorite pullet ; the consequence of which will readily occur to her 
I promised also to give her some Virginia silk which I had ex- 
pected, and I begin to wish my expectation may not prove vain. 
I fear she will think me but an ungainly acquaintance. My late 
loss may perhaps have reached you by this time ; I mean the 
loss of my mother's house by fire, and in it of every paper I had 
in the world, and almost every book. On a reasonable estimate 
I calculate the cost of the books burned to have been 200 
sterling. Would to God it had been the money, then had it 
never cost me a sigh ! To make the loss more sensible, it fell 
principally on my books of Common Law, of which I have but 
one left, at that time lent out. Of papers too of every kind I 
am utterly destitute. All of these, whether public or private 
of business or of amusement, have perished in the flames. I 
had made some progress in preparing for the succeeding General 
Court ; and having, as was my custom, thrown my thoughts 
into the form of notes, I troubled my head no more with them. 
These are gone, and like the baseless fabric of a vision, leave 
not a trace behind. The records also, and other papers which 
furnished me with states of the several cases, having shared 
the same fate, I have no foundation whereon to set out anew. 
I have in vain attempted to recollect some of them ; the defect 
sometimes of one, sometimes of more circumstances, rendering 
them so imperfect that I can make nothing of them. What am 
I to do then in April ? The resolution which the Court has 
declared of admitting no continuances of causes seemed to be 
unalterable ; yet it might surely be urged, that my case is too 
singular to admit of their being often troubled with the like 
excuse. Should it be asked, what are the misfortunes of an 
individual to a Court ? The answer of a Court, as well as of an 
individual, if left to me, should be in the words of Terence, 
" homo sum ; humani nil a me alienum puto" but a truce with 

this disagreeable subject. 

VOL. i. 13 


Am I never more to have a letter from you ? Why the devil 
don't you write ? Bat I suppose you are always in the moon, 
or some of the planetary regions. I mean you are there in idea ; 
and, unless you mend, you shall have my consent to be there 
de facto ; at least, during the vacations of the Court and Assem- 
bly. If your spirit is too elevated to advert to sublunary sub- 
jects, depute my friend Mrs. Page to support your correspon- 
dences. Me thinks I should, with wonderful pleasure, open and 
peruse a letter written by so fair, and (what is better) so friendly 
hands. If thinking much of you would entitle me to the civility 
of a letter, I assure you I merit a very long one. If this confla- 
gration, by which I am burned out of a home, had come before 
I had advanced so far in preparing another, I do not know but 
I might have cherished some treasonable thoughts of leaving 
these my native hills ; indeed I should be much happier were I 
nearer to Rosewell and Severn hills however, the gods, I 
fancy, were apprehensive that if we were placed together, we 
should pull down the moon, or play some such devilish prank 
with their works. I reflect often with pleasure on the philo- 
sophical evenings I passed at Rosewell in my last visits there. 
I was always fond of philosophy, even in its drier forms ; but 
from a ruby lip, it comes with charms irresistible. Such a feast 
of sentiment must exhilarate and lengthen life, at least as much 
as the feast of the sensualist shortens it in a word, I prize it so 
highly, that, if you will at any time collect the same Belle As- 
semble, on giving me three days previous notice, I shall cer- 
tainly repair to my place as a member of it. Should it not hap- 
pen before I come down, I will carry Sally Nicholas in the 
green chair to Newquarter, where your periagua (how the 

should 1 spell that word ?) will meet us, automaton-like, of 

its own accord. You know I had a wagon which moved itself 
cannot we construct a boat then which shall row itself ? Ami- 
cus noster, Fons* quo modo agit, et quid agit ? You may be 
all dead for anything we can tell here. I expect he will follow 
the good old rule of driving one passion out by letting another 

* Probably Mr. William Fontaine, of Hanover county. 


in. Clavum clavo pangere was your advice to me on a similar 
occasion. I hope you will watch his immersion as narrowly as 
if he were one of Jupiter's satellites ; and give me immediate 
notice, that I may prepare a dish of advice. I do not mean, 
Madam, to advise him against it. On the contrary, I am become 
an advocate for the passion ; for I too am caelo tactus, Currus* 
bene se habet. He speaks, thinks, and dreams of nothing but 
his young son. This friend of ours, Page, in a very small house, 
with a table, half a dozen chairs, and one or two servants, is 
the happiest man in the universe. Every incident in life he so 
takes as to render it a source of pleasure. With as much be- 
nevolence as the heart of man will hold, but with an utter ne- 
glect of the costly apparatus of life, he exhibits to the world a 
new phenomenon in philosophy the Samian sage in the tub 
of the cynic. Name me sometimes homunculo tuo, not forget- 
ting little die mcndadum. I am determined not to enter on the 
next page, lest I should extend this nonsense to the bottom of 
that also. A dieujevous commas, not doubting his care of you 
both. TH : JEFFERSON. 


ALBERMARLE, IN VIRGINIA, Feb. 25th, 1773. 

DEAR SIR, Encouraged by the small acquaintance which I 
had the pleasure of having contracted with you during your 
residence in this country, I take the liberty of making the pres- 
ent application to you. I understood you were related to the 
gentleman of your name (Mr. James McPherson), to whom the 
world is so much indebted for the elegant collection, arrange- 
ment, and translation of Ossian's poems. These pieces have 
been and will, I think, during my life, continue to be to me the 
sources of daily and exalted pleasures. The tender and the 
sublime emotions of the mind were never before so wrought up 
by the human hand. I am not ashamed to own that I think 

* By this term, he no doubt designated Mr. Dabney Carr, his brother-in-law. 


this rude bard of the North the greatest poet that has ever ex- 
isted. Merely for the pleasure of reading his works, I am be- 
come desirous of learning the language in which he sung, and 
of possessing his songs in their original form. Mr. McPherson, 
I think, informs us he is possessed of the originals. Indeed, a 
gentleman has lately told me he had seen them in print ; but I 
am afraid he has mistaken a specimen from Temora, annexed to 
some of the editions of the translation, for the whole works. 
If they are printed, it will abridge my request and your trouble, 
to the sending me a printed copy ; but if there be more such, 
my petition is, that you would be so good as to use your inter- 
est with Mr. McPherson to obtain leave to take a manuscript 
copy of them, and procure it to be done. I would choose it in 
a fair, round hand, on fine paper, with a good margin, bound in 
parchments as elegantly as possible, lettered on the back, and 
marbled or gilt on the edges of the leaves. I would not regard 
expense in doing this. I would further beg the favor of you to 
give me a catalogue of the books written in that language, and 
to send me such of them as may be necessary for learning it. 
These will, of course, include a grammar and dictionary. The 
cost of these, as well as the copy of Ossian, will be (for me), 
on demand, answered by Mr. Alexander McCaul, sometime of 
Virginia, merchant, but now of Glasgow, or by your friend Mr. 
Ninian Minzees, of Richmond, in Virginia, to whose care the 
books may be sent. You can, perhaps, tell me whether we may 
ever hope to see any more of those Celtic pieces published. 
Manuscript copies of any which are in print, it would at any 
time give me the greatest happiness to receive. The glow of 
one warm thought is to me worth more than money. I hear 
with pleasure from your friend that your path through life is 
likely to be smoothed by success. I wish the business and the 
pleasures of your situation would admit leisure now and then 
to scribble a line to one who wishes you every felicity, and 
would willingly merit the appellation of, dear sir, 

Your friend and humble servant. 



Dec. 9th, 1774. 

DEAR SIR, As I mean to be a conscientious observer of the 
measures generally thought requisite for the preservation of our 
independent rights, so I think myself bound to account to my 
country for any act of mine which might wear an appearance 
of contravening them. I, therefore, take the liberty of stating 
to you the following matter, that through your friendly inter- 
vention, it may be communicated to the committee of your 
county. You may remember that it was about the last of May 
that the House of Burgesses, after its dissolution, met in Ra- 
leigh, and formed our first association against the future use of 
tea only ; tho' the proceedings of the ministry against the town 
of Boston were then well known to us. 

I believe nobody thought at that time of extending our asso- 
ciation further, to the total interruption of our commerce with 
Britain ; or, if it was proposed by any (which I don't recollect), 
it was condemned by the general sense of the members who 
formed that association. Two or three days, therefore, after 
this, I wrote to Gary & Co., of London, for fourteen pairs of 
sash windows, to be sent to me ready made and glazed, with a 
small parcel of spare glass to mend with. This letter went by 
a ship, which sailed about the third of June, just before Power 
arrived here. I did not suppose they would send them till 
Power should come in again in the spring of 1775. 

About the middle of June, as nearly as I can recollect, a few 
of the late members were again convened (in consequence of 
fresh advices from Boston), and then it was suggested that a 
more extensive association might be necessary. A convention 
met for that purpose the first of August, and formed a new asso- 
ciation, of which I received a copy about the llth of the month. 
But as a general Congress was then appointed to be held to re- 
consider the same matters, and it was agreed that our association 
should be subject to any alteration that they might recommend, 
I did not write to countermand my order, thinking I should have 


sufficient time after the final determination of the Congress 
should be known, to countermand it before Power should sail 
in the spring. Accordingly, within a few days after receiving a 
copy of the general association, I wrote to Gary & Co. not to 
send the sashes and glass which I had ordered, and gave my letter 
to the care of a gentleman (Mr. Evans) just then going down- 
ward, who promised to send it out speedily ; but three or four 
days after I received a letter from those gentlemen, dated Au- 
gust 29th, in which they inform me my window frames and glass 
are ready, but that it being necessary to detain them about a 
month to harden the puttying, they were not sent in that ship, 
but might be expected by the next ship afterwards. From this 
I conclude they may be near arriving at this time, in which case 
they will come under the 1st and 10th articles of the association. 
In order, therefore, that no proceeding of mine might give a 
handle for traducing our measures, I thought it better previously 
to lay before your committee, within whose ward they will prob- 
ably be landed, a full state of the matter, by which it might be 
seen under what expectations I had failed to give an earlier coun- 
termand, and to show that, as they come under the prohibitions of 
the Continental association, (which, without the spirit of prophe- 
cy, could not have been foretold when I ordered them,) so I 
mean they shall be subject to its condemnation. To your com- 
mittee, therefore, if landed within their county, I submit the dis- 
posal of them, which shall be obeyed as soon as made known 
to their and your 

Most humble servant. 

Dec. 9th, 1774. A copy of this sent to Col. A. Gary, and an- 
other to Col. B. Harrison, by Mr. Marrei. 


May 7, 1775. 

DEAR SIR, Within this week we have received the unhappy 
news of an action of considerable magnitude, between the King's 


troops and our brethren of Boston, in which it is said five hun- 
dred of the former, with the Earl of Percy, are slain. That 
such an action has occurred, is undoubted, though perhaps the 
circumstances may not have reached us with truth. This acci- 
dnt has cut off our last hope of reconciliation, and a phrensy 
of revenge seems to have seized all ranks of people. It is a 
lamentable circumstance, that the only mediatory power, ac- 
knowledged by both parties, instead of leading to a reconcilia- 
tion his divided people, should pursue the incendiary purpose 
of still blowing up the flames, as we find him constantly doing, 
in every speech and public declaration. This may, perhaps, be 
intended to intimidate into acquiescence, but the effect has been 
most unfortunately otherwise. A little knowledge of human 
nature, and attention to its ordinary workings, might have fore- 
seen that the spirits of the people here were in a state, in which 
they were more likely to be provoked, than frightened, by 
haughty deportment. And to fill up the measure of irritation, 
a proscription of individuals has been substituted in the room of 
just trial. Can it be believed, that a grateful people will suffer 
those to be consigned to execution, whose sole crime has been 
the developing and asserting their rights ? Had the Parliament 
possessed the power of reflection, they would have avoided a 
measure as impotent, as it was inflammatory. When I saw 
Lord Chatham's bill, I entertained high hope that a reconcilia- 
tion could have been brought about. The difference between 
his terms, and those offered by our Congress, might have been 
accommodated, if entered on, by both parties, with a disposi- 
tion to accommodate. But the dignity of Parliament, it seems, 
can brook no opposition to its power. Strange, that a set of 
men, who have made sale of their virtue to the Minister, should 
yet talk of retaining dignity ! But I am getting into politics, 
though I sat down only to ask your acceptance of the Avine, 
and express my constant wishes for your happiness. 



MOXTICELLO, August 25, 1775. 

DEAR SIR, I am sorry the situation of our country should 
render it not eligible to you to remain longer in it. I hope the 
returning wisdom of Great Britain will, ere long, put an end to 
this unnatural contest. There may be people to whose tem- 
pers and dispositions contention is pleasing, and who, there- 
fore, wish a continuance of confusion, but to me it is of all 
states but one, the most horrid. My first wish is a restoration 
of our just rights ; my second, a return of the happy period, 
when, consistently with duty, I may withdraw myself totally 
from the public stage, and pass the rest of my days in domestic 
ease and tranquillity, banishing every desire of ever hearing 
what passes in the world. Perhaps (for the latter adds con- 
siderably to the warmth of the former wish), looking with 
fondness towards a reconciliation with Great Britain, I cannot 
help hoping you may be able to contribute towards expediting 
this good work. I think it must be evident to yourself, that 
the Ministry have been deceived by their officers on this side 
of the water, who (for what purpose I cannot tell) have con- 
stantly represented the American opposition as that of a small 
faction, in which the body of the people took little part. This, 
you can inform them, of your own knowledge, is untrue. They 
have taken it into their heads, too, that we are cowards, and 
shall surrender at discretion to an armed force. The past and 
future operations of the war must confirm or undeceive them 
on that head. I wish they were thoroughly and minutely ac- 
quainted with every circumstance relative to America, as it ex- 
ists in truth. I am persuaded, this would go far towards dis- 
posing them to reconciliation. Even those in Parliament who 
are called friends to America, seem to know nothing of our real 
determinations. I observe, they pronounced in the last Parlia- 
ment, that the Congress of 1774 did not mean to insist rigor- 
ously on the terms they held out, but kept something in 
reserve, to give up ; and, in fact, that they would give up 


everything but the article of taxation. Now, the truth is far 
from this, as I can affirm, and put my honor to the assertion. 
Their continuance in this error may, perhaps, produce very ill 
consequences. The Congress stated the lowest terms they 
thought possible to be accepted, in order to convince the world 
they were not unreasonable. They gave up the monopoly and 
regulation of trade, and all acts of Parliament prior to 1764, 
leaving to British generosity to render these, at some future 
time, as easy to America as the interest of Britain would admit. 
But this was before blood was spilt. I cannot affirm, but have 
reason to think, these terms would not now be accepted. I wish 
no false sense of honor, no ignorance of our real intentions, no 
vain hope that partial concessions of right will be accepted, may 
induce the Ministry to trifle with accommodation, till it shall 
be out of their power ever to accommodate. If, indeed, Great 
Britain, disjoined from her colonies, be a match for the most po- 
tent nations of Europe, with the colonies thrown into their scale, 
they may go on securely. But if they are not assured of this, 
it would be certainly unwise, by trying the event of another 
campaign, to risk our accepting a foreign aid, which, perhaps, 
may not be obtainable, but on condition of everlasting avulsion 
from Great Britain. This would be thought a hard condition, 
to those who still wish for re-union with their parent country. 
1 am sincerely one of those, and would rather be in dependence 
on Great Britain, properly limited, than on any nation on earth, 
or than on no nation. But I am one of those, too, who, rather 
than submit to the rights of legislating for us, assumed by the 
British Parliament, and which late experience has shown they 
will so cruelly exercise, would lend my hand to sink the whole 
Island in the ocean. 

If undeceiving the Minister, as to matters of fact, may change 
his disposition, it will, perhaps, be in your power, by assisting to 
do this, to render service to the whole empire, at the most criti- 
cal time, certainly, that it has ever seen. Whether Britain shall 
continue the head of the greatest empire on earth, or shall re- 
turn to her original station in the political scale of Europe, de- 


pends, perhaps, on the resolutions of the succeeding winter. 
God send they may be wise and salutary for us all. I shall he 
glad to hear from you as often as you may be disposed to think 
of things here. You may be at liberty, I expect, to communi- 
cate some things, consistently with your honor, and the duties 
you will owe to a protecting nation. Such a communication 
among individuals, may be mutually beneficial to the contend- 
ing parties. On this or any future occasion, if I affirm to you 
any facts, your knowledge of me will enable you to decide on 
their credibility ; if I hazard opinions on the dispositions of men 
or other speculative points, you can only know they are my 
opinions. My best wishes for your felicity, attend you, wherever 
you go, and believe me to be assuredly, 
Your friend and servant. 


PHILADELPHIA, November 29, 1775. 

DEAR SIR, I am to give you the melancholy intelligence of 
the death of our most worthy Speaker, which happened here on 
the 22d of the last month. He was struck with an apoplexy, 
and expired within five hours. 

I have it in my power to acquaint you, that the success of our 
arms has corresponded with the justice of our cause. Chambly 
and St. John's were taken some weeks ago, and in them the 
whole regular army in Canada, except about forty or fifty men. 
This day, certain intelligence has reached us, that our General, 
Montgomery, is received into Montreal ; and we expect, every 
hour, to be informed that Quebec has opened its arms to Colonel 
Arnold, who, with eleven hundred men, was sent from Boston 
up the Kennebec, and down the Chaudiore river to that place. 
He expected to be there early this month. Montreal acceded 
to us on the 13th, and Carlton set out, with the shattered re- 
mains of his little army, for duebec, where we hope he will be 
taken up by Arnold. In a short time, we have reason to hope, 


the delegates of Canada will join us in Congress, and complete 
the American union, as far as we wish to have it completed. 
We hear that one of the British transports has arrived at Bos- 
ton ; the rest are heating off the coast, in very had weather. 
You will have heard, before this reaches you, that Lord Dun- 
more has commenced hostilities in Virginia. That people bore 
with everything, till he attempted to burn the town of Hamp- 
ton. They opposed and repelled him, with considerable loss on 
his side, and none on ours. It has raised our countrymen into 
a perfect phrensy. It is an immense misfortune, to the whole 
empire, to have a King of such a disposition at such a time. 
We are told, and everything proves it true, that he is the bit- 
terest enemy we have. His Minister is able, arid that satisfies 
me that ignorance or wickedness, somewhere, controls him. In 
an earlier part of this contest, our petitions told him, that from 
our King there was but one appeal. The admonition was de- 
spised, and that appeal forced on us. To undo his empire, he 
has but one truth more to learn ; that, after colonies have drawn 
the sword, there is but one step more they can take. That step 
is now pressed upon us, by the measures adopted, as if they 
were afraid we would not take it. Believe me, dear Sir, there 
is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a 
union with Great Britain, than I do. But by the God that made 
me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such 
terms as the British Parliament propose ; and in this, I think I 
speak the sentiments of America. We want neither induce- 
ment nor power, to declare and assert a separation. It is will, 
alone, which is wanting, and that is growing apace under the 
fostering hand of our King. One bloody campaign will prob- 
ably decide, everlastingly, our future course ; and I am sorry to 
find a bloody campaign is decided on. If our winds and waters 
should not combine to rescue their shores from slavery, and 
General Howe's reinforcements should arrive in safety, we have 
hopes he will be inspirited to come out of Boston and take an- 
other drubbing ; and we must drub him soundly, before the 
sceptred tyrant will know we are not mere brutes, to crouch 


under his hand, and kiss the rod with which he designs to 
scourge us. 

Yours, &c. 


PHILADELPHIA, July 8, 1776. 

DEAR SIR, For news, I refer you to your brother, who writes 
on that head. I enclose you a copy of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, as agreed to by the House, and also as originally 
framed. You will judge whether it is the better or worse for 
the critics. I shall return to Virginia after the llth of August. 
I wish my successor may be certain to come before that time ; 
in that case I shall hope to see you, and not Wythe, in Conven- 
tion, that the business of Government, which is of everlasting 
concern, may receive your aid. 

Adieu, and believe me to be your friend and servant. 


VIRGINIA, August 13, 1777. 

HONORABLE SIR, I forbear to write you news, as the time of 
Mr. Shore's departure being uncertain, it might be old before you 
receive it, and he can, in person, possess you of all we have. 
With respect to the State of Virginia in particular, the people 
seem to have laid aside the monarchical, and taken up the repub- 
lican government, with as much ease as would have attended 
their throwing off an old, and putting on a new suit of clothes. 
Not D single throe has attended this important transformation. A 
half-dozen aristocratical gentlemen, agonizing under the loss of 
pre-eminence, have sometimes ventured their sarcasms on our 
political metamorphosis. They have been thought fitter objects 


of pity, than of punishment. We are, at present, in the com- 
plete and quiet exercise of well-organized government, save only 
that our courts of justice do not open till the fall. QUhink nothing 
can bring the security of our continent and its cause into danger, 
if we can support the credit of our paper. To do that, I appre- 
hend, one of two steps must be taken. Either to procure free 
trade by alliance with some naval power able to protect it ; or, 
if we find there is no prospect of that, to shut our ports totally, 
to all the world, and turn our colonies into manufactories. The 
former would be most eligible, because most conformable to the 
habits and wishes of our people. Were the British Court to re- 
turn to their senses in time to seize the little advantage which 
still remains within their reach, from this quarter, I judge, that, 
on acknowledging our absolute independence and sovereignty, a 
commercial treaty beneficial to them, and perhaps even a league 
of mutual offence and defence, might, not seeing the expense or 
consequences of such a measure, be approved by our people, if 
nothing, in the mean time, done on your part, should prevent it. 
But they will continue to grasp at their desperate sovereignty, till 
every benefit short of that is forever out of their reach 71 I wish 
my domestic situation had rendered it possible for me to join you 
in the very honorable charge confided to you. Residence in a 
polite Court, society of literati of the first order, a just cause and 
an approving God, will add length to a life for which all men 
pray, and none more than 

Your most obedient and humble servant. 


ALBER:JARLE, VIRGINIA, Aug. 21, 1777. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of May 26th came safely to hand. I 
wish it were in my power to suggest any remedy for the evil 
you complain of ; though, did any occur, I should propose it to 
you with great diffidence, after knowing you had thought on 


the subject yourself. There is indeed a fact which may not 
have come to your knowledge, out of which, perhaps, some 
little good may be drawn. The borrowing money in Europe, or 
obtaining credit there for necessaries, has already probably been 
essayed, and it is supposed with some degree of success. But I 
expect your applications have as yet been made only to France, 
Holland, or such other States as are of principal note. There 
is, however, a small power well disposed to our cause, and, as I 
am informed, possessed of abilities to assist us in this way. I 
speak of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The little States of 
Italy, you know, have had long peace, and show no disposition 
to interrupt that peace shortly. The Grand Duke, being some- 
what avaricious in his nature, has availed himself of the oppor- 
tunity of collecting and hoarding what money he has been able 
to gather. I am informed from good authority (an officer who 
was concerned in the business of his treasury) that about three 
years ago he had ten millions of crowns lying dead in his coffers. 
Of this, it is thought possible as much might be borrowed as 
would amount to a million of pounds lawful money. At any 
rate, the attempt might be worth making. Perhaps an applica- 
tion from Dr. Franklin, who has some acquaintance in that court, 
might be sufficient; or as it might be prudent to sound well -be- 
fore the application, in order to prevent the discredit of a rebuff, 
perhaps Congress would think it worth while to send a special 
agent there to negotiate the matter. I think we have a gentle- 
man here, who would do it with dexterity and fidelity. He is a 
native of that Duchy, well connected there, conversant in courts, 
of great understanding and equal zeal in our cause. He came 
over not long since to introduce the cultivation of vines, olives, 
&c., among us. Should you think the matter worth a further 
thought, either of the Cols. Lee's, to whom he is known, can 
acquaint you more fully of his character. If the money can be 
obtained in specie, it may be applied to reduce the quantity of 
circulating paper, and be so managed as to help the credit of 
that which will remain in circulation. If credit alone can be 
obtained for the manufactures of the country, it will still help us 


to clothe our armies, or to increase at market the necessaries our 
people want. 

What upon earth can Howe mean by the manoeuvre he is now 
practicing ? There seems to me no object in this country which 
can be either of utility or reputation to his cause. I hope it will 
prove of a piece with all the other follies they have committed. 
The forming a junction with the northern army up the Hudson 
river, or taking possession of Philadelphia, might have been a 
feather in his cap, and given them a little reputation in Europe 
the former as being the design with which they came, the latter 
as being a place of the first reputation abroad, and the residence 
of Congress. Here he may destroy the little hamlet of Wil- 
liamsburg, steal a few slaves, and lose half his army among 
the fens and marshes of our lower country, or by the heat of the 

I am, dear sir, yours, &c. 

TO .* 

WlLLIAMSBURG, VlRGIMA, June 8th, 1778. 

Sm, Your letter of September 15th, 1777, from Paris, comes 
safe to hand. We have not, however, had the pleasure of seeing 
Mr. De Crenis, the bearer of it, in this country, as he joined the 
army in Pennsylvania as soon as he arrived. 

I should have taken particular pleasure in serving him on your 
recommendation. From the kind anxiety expressed in your 
letter, as well as from other sources of information, we discover 
that our enemies have filled Europe with Thrasonic accounts of 
victories they had never won and conquests they were fated 
never to make. While these accounts alarmed our friends in 
Europe, they afforded us diversions. We have long been out of 
all fear for the event of the war. I enclose you a list of the 
killed, wounded, and captives of the enemy from the commence- 
ment of hostilities at Lexington, in April, 1775, until November, 

* [This letter has no address.] 


1777, since which time there has been no event of any conse- 
quence. This is the best history of the war which can be 
brought within the compass of a letter. I believe the account to 
be near the truth, though it is difficult to get at the numbers lost 
by an enemy with absolute precision. Many of the articles have 
been communicated to us from England as taken from the official 
returns made by their General. I wish it were in my power to 
send you as just an account of our loss. But this cannot be done 
without an application to the war office, which, being in another 
county, is at this time out of my reach. I think that upon the 
whole it has been about one-half the number lost by them ; in 
some instances more, but in others less. This difference is as- 
cribed to our superiority in taking aim when we fire ; every 
soldier in our army having been intimate with his gun from his 
infancy. If there could have been a doubt before as to the event 
of the war, it is now totally removed by the interposition of 
France, and the generous alliance she has entered into with us. 
Though much of my time is employed in the councils of Amer- 
ica, I have yet a little leisure to indulge my fondness for philo- 
sophical studies. 

I could wish to correspond with you on subjects of that kind. 
It might not be unacceptable to you to be informed, for instance, 
of the true power of our climate, discoverable from the thermom- 
eter, from the force and direction of the winds, the quantity of 
rain, the plants which grow without shelter in winter, &c. On 
the other hand, we should be much pleased with cotemporary 
observations on the same particulars in your country, which will 
give us a comparative view of the two climates. Farenheit's 
thermometer is the only one in use with us. I make my daily 
observations as early as possible in the morning, and again about 
four o'clock in the afternoon, generally showing the maxima of 
cold and heat in the course of 24 hours. I wish I could gratify 
your Botanical taste, but I am acquainted with nothing more 
than the first principles of that science ; yet myself and my 
friends may furnish you with any Botanical subjects which this 
country affords, and are not to be had with you, and I shall take 


pleasure in procuring them when pointed out by you. The 
greatest difficulty will be the means of conveyance during the 
continuance of the war. 

If there is a gratification, which I envy any people in this world, 
it is to your country its music. This is the favorite passion of 
my soul, and fortune has cast my lot in a country where it is in a 
state of deplorable barbarism. From the line of life in which we 
conjecture you to be, I have for some time lost the hope of seeing 
you here. Should the event prove so, I shall ask your assistance 
in procuring a substitute, who may be a proficient in singing, &c., 
on the Harpsichord. I should be contented to receive such an one 
two or three years hence ; when it is hoped he may come more 
safely and find here a greater plenty of those useful things which 
commerce alone can furnish. 

The bounds of an American fortune will not admit the indul- 
gence of a domestic band of musicians, yet I have thought that 
a passion for music might be reconciled with that economy which 
we are obliged to observe. I retain among my domestic servants 
a gardener, a weaver, a cabinet-maker, and a stone-cntter, to which 
I would add a vigneron. In a country where, like yours, music 
is cultivated and practiced by every class of men, I suppose there 
might be found persons of these trades who could perform on the 
French horn, clarinet, or hautboy, and bassoon, so that one might 
have a band of two French horns, two clarinets, two hautboys, 
and a bassoon, without enlarging their domestic expenses. A 
certainty of employment for a half dozen years, and at the end 
of that time, to find them, if they chose, a conveyance to their 
own country, might induce them to come here on reasonable 
wages. Without meaning to give you trouble, perhaps it might 
be practicable for you, in your ordinary intercourse with your 
people, to find out such men disposed to come to America. So- 
briety and good nature would be desirable parts of their characters. 
If you think such a plan practicable, and will be so kind as to 
inform me what will be necessary to be done on my part, I will 
take care that it shall be clone. The necessary expenses, when 
informed of them, I can remit before they are wanting, to any 

VOL. i. 14 


port in France, with which country alone we have safe correspon- 
lencc; I am, Sir, with much esteem, your humble servant 



DEAR SIR, I sincerely congratulate you on the recovery of 
Philadelphia, and wish it may be found uninjured by the enemy. 
How far the interests of literature may have suffered by the in- 
jury, or removal of the Orrery, (as it is miscalled,) the public 
libraries, your papers and implements, are doubts which still ex- 
cite anxiety. We were much disappointed in Virginia generally, 
on the day of the great eclipse, which proved to be cloudy. 

In Williamsburg, where it was total, I understood only the 
beginning was seen. At this place, which is lat. 38 8', and 
longitude west from Williamsburg, about 1 45', as is conjectured, 
11 digits only were supposed to be covered. It was not seen at 
all until the moon had advanced nearly one-third over the sun's 
disc. Afterwards it was seen at intervals through the whole. 
The egress particularly was visible. It proved, however, of little 
use to me, for want of a time piece that could be depended on, 
which circumstance, together with the subsequent restoration of 
Philadelphia to you, has induced me to trouble you with this letter, 
to remind you of your kind promise of making me an accurate 
clock, which, being intended for astronomical purposes only, I 
would have divested of all apparatus for striking, or for any 
other purpose, which, by increasing its complication, might dis- 
turb its accuracy. A companion to it for keeping seconds, and 
which might be moved easily, would greatly add to its value. 
The Theodolite, for which I also spoke to you, I can now dis- 
pense with, having since purchased a most excellent one. 


WIU.IAMSBURG, January 22, 1779. 

DEAR PAGE, I received your letter by Mr. Jamieson. It had 
given me much pain, that the zeal of our respective friends should 


ever have placed you and me in the situation of competitors. . I 
was comforted, however, with the reflection, that it was their 
competition, not ours, and that the difference of the numbers 
which decided between us, was too insignificant to give you a 
pain, or me a pleasure, had our dispositions towards each other 
been such as to admit those sensations. I know you too well to 
need an apology for anything you do, and hope you will forever 
be assured of this ; and as to the constructions of the world, they 
would only have added one to the many sins for which they 
are to go to the devil. As this is the first, I hope it will be the 
last, instance of ceremony between us. A desire to see my 
family, which is in Charles City, carries me thither to-morrow, 
and I shall not return till Monday. Be pleased to present my 
compliments to Mrs. Page, and add this to the assurances I have 
ever given you, that I am, dear Page, your affectionate friend. 


FOREST, March 1, 1*779. 

DEAR SIR, Since I left you, I have reflected on the bill 
regulating the practising of attornies, and of our omitting to 
continue the practitioners at the County and General Courts 
separate. I think the bar of the General Court a proper and 
excellent nursery for future judges, if it be so regulated that 
science may be encouraged, and may live there. But this can 
never be if an inundation of insects is permitted to come from 
the county courts, and consume the harvest. These people, 
traversing the counties, seeing the clients frequently at their 
own courts, or, perhaps, at their own houses, must of necessity 
pick up all the business. The convenience of frequently seeing 
their counsel, without going from home, cannot be withstood 
by the country people. Men of science, then, if there were to 
be any, would only be employed as auxiliary counsel in diffi- 
cult cases. But can they live by that ? Certainly not. The 
present members of that kind, therefore, must turn marauders in 
the county courts, and, in future, none will have leisure to ac- 
quire science. I should therefore be for excluding the county 


court attornies ; or rather, for taking the general court lawyers 
from the incessant drudgery of the county courts and confining 
them to their studies, that they may qualify themselves as well 
to support their clients, as to become worthy successors to the 
bench. I hope to see the time when the election of judges of 
the Supreme Courts shall be restrained to the bars of the Gen- 
eral Court and High Court of Chancery ; for when I speak of 
the former above, I mean to include the latter. I should, even 
in our present bill, have no objection to inserting such a restric- 
tion to take place seven or fourteen years hence. Adieu. 


ALBEMARLK, March 27, 1779. 

SIR, A report prevailing here, that in consequence of some 
powers from Congress, the Governor and Council have it in con- 
templation to remove the Convention troops,* either wholly or in 
part, from their present situation, I take the liberty of troubling 
you with some observations on that subject. The reputation and 
interest of our country, in general, may be affected by such a 
measure : it would, therefore, hardly be deemed an indecent lib- 
erty in the most private citizen, to offer his thoughts to the con- 
sideration of the Executive. The locality of my situation, par- 
ticularly in the neighborhood of the present barracks, and the 
public relation in which I stand to the people among whom they 
are situated, together with a confidence which a personal knowl- 
edge of the members of the Executive gives me, that they will 
be glad of information from any quarter, on a subject interesting 
to the public, induce me to hope that they will acquit me of im- 
propriety in the present representation. 

By an article in the Convention of Saratoga, it is stipulated, 
on the part of the United States, that the officers shall not be 
separated from their men. I suppose the term officers, includes 

[* The troops under Burgoyne, captured at Saratoga.] 


general as well as regimental officers. As there are general offi- 
cers who command all the troops, no part of them can be sepa- 
rated from these officers without a violation of the article : they 
cannot, of course, be separated from one another, unless the same 
general officer could be in different places at the same time. It 
is true, the article adds the words, " as far as circumstances will 
admit." This was a necessary qualification ; because, in no 
place in America, I suppose, could there have been found quar- 
ters for both officers and men together ; those for the officers to 
be according to their rank. So far, then, as the circumstances 
of the place where they should be quartered, should render a 
separation necessary, in order to procure quarters for the officers, 
according to their rank, the article admits that separation. And 
these are the circumstances which must have been under the 
contemplation of the parties ; both of whom, and all the world 
beside (who are ultimate judges in the case), would still under- 
stand that they were to be as near in the environs of the camp, 
as convenient quarters could be procured ; and not that the qual- 
ification of the article destroyed the article itself, and laid it 
wholly at our discretion. Congress, indeed, have admitted of 
this separation ; but are they so far lords of right and wrong as 
that our consciences may be quiet with their dispensation ? Or 
is the case amended by saying they leave it optional in the Gov- 
ernor and Council to separate the troops or not ? At the same 
time that it exculpates not them, it is drawing the Governor and 
Council into a participation in the breach of faith. If indeed it 
is only proposed, that a separation of the troops shall be referred 
to the consent of their officers ; that is a very different matter. 
Having carefully avoided conversation with them on public sub- 
jects, I cannot say, of my own knowledge, how they would relish 
such a proposition. I have heard from others, that they will 
choose to undergo anything together, rather than to be separated, 
and that they will remonstrate against it in the strongest terms. 
The Executive, therefore, if voluntary agents in this measure, 
must be drawn into a paper war with them, the more disagree- 
able, as it seems that faith and reason will be on the other side. 


As an American, I cannot help feeling a thorough mortification, 
that our Congress should have permitted an infraction of our pub- 
lic honor ; as a citizen of Virginia, I cannot help hoping and 
confiding, that our Supreme Executive, whose acts will be con- 
sidered as the acts of the Commonwealth, estimate that honor too 
highly to make its infraction their own act. I may be permitted 
to hope, then, that if any removal takes place, it will be a gen- 
eral one ; and, as it is said to be left to the Governor and Coun- 
cil to determine on this, I am satisfied that, suppressing every 
other consideration, and weighing the matter dispassionately, they 
will determine upon this sole question, Is it for the benefit of 
those for whom they act, that the Convention troops should be 
removed from among them ? Under the head of interest, these 
circumstances, viz., the expense of building barracks, said to 
have been 25,000, and of removing the troops backwards and 
forwards, amounting to, I know not how much, are not to be pre- 
termitted, merely because they are Continental expenses ; for we 
are a part of the Continent ; we must pay a shilling of every dol- 
lar wasted. But the sums of money which, by these troops, or 
on their account, are brought into, and expended in this State, 
are a great and local advantage. This can require no proof. If, 
at the conclusion of the war, for instance, our share of the Con- 
tinental debt should be twenty millions of dollars, or say that we 
are called on to furnish an annual quota of two millions four 
hundred thousand dollars, to Congress, to be raised by tax, it is 
obvious that we should raise these given sums with greater or 
less ease, in proportion to the greater or less quantity of money 
found in circulation among us. I expect that our circulating mo- 
ney is, by the presence of these troops, at the rate of $30,000 a 
week, at the least. I have heard, indeed, that an objection arises 
to their being kept within this State, from the information of 
the commissary that they cannot be subsisted here. In attend- 
ing to the information of that officer, it should be borne in mind 
that the county of King William and its vicinities are one thing, 
the territory of Virginia another. If the troops could be fed 
upon long letters, I believe the gentleman at the head of that de- 


partment in this country, would be the best commissary upon 
earth. But till I see him determined to act, not to write ; to 
sacrifice his domestic ease to the duties of his appointment, and 
apply to the resources of this country, wheresoever they are to 
be had, I must entertain a different opinion of him. I am mis- 
taken if, for the animal subsistence of the troops hitherto, we 
are not principally indebted to the genius and exertions of 
Hawkins, during the very short time he lived after his appoint- 
ment to that department, by your board. His eye immediately 
pervaded the whole State, it was reduced at once to a regular 
machine, to a system, and the whole put into movement and 
animation by the fiat of a comprehensive mind. If the Com- 
monwealth of Virginia cannot furnish these troops with bread, 
I would ask of the commissariat, which of the thirteen is now 
become the grain colony ? If we are in danger of famine from 
the addition of four thousand mouths, what is become of that 
surplus of bread, the exportation of which used to feed the 
West Indies and Eastern States, and fill the colony with hard 
money ? When I urge the sufficiency of this State, however, 
to subsist these troops, I beg to be understood, as having in con- 
templation the quantity of provisions necessary for their real 
use, and not as calculating what is to be lost by the wanton 
waste, mismanagement, and carelessness of those employed 
about it. If magazines of beef and pork are suffered to rot by 
slovenly butchering, or for want of timely provision and sale ; 
if quantities of flour are exposed, by the commissaries entrusted 
with the keeping it, to pillage and destruction ; and if, when 
laid up in the Continental stores, it is still to be embezzled and 
sold, the land of Egypt itself would be insufficient for their 
supply, and their removal would be necessary, not to - a more 
plentiful country, but to more able and honest commissaries. 
Perhaps the magnitude of this question, and its relation to the 
whole State, may render it worth while to await the opinion of 
the National Council, which is now to meet within a few weeks. 
There is no danger of distress in the meantime, as the commis- 
saries affirm they have a great sufficiency of provisions for some 


time to come. Should the measure of removing them into an- 
other State be adopted, and carried into execution, before the 
meeting of Assembly, no disapprobation of theirs will bring 
them back, because they will then be in the power of others, 
who will hardly give them up. 

Want of information as to what may be the precise measure 
proposed by the Governor and Council, obliges me to shift my 
ground, and take up the subject in every possible form. Perhaps, 
they have not thought to remove the troops out of this State alto- 
gether, but to some other part of it. Here, the objections arising 
from the expenses of removal, and of building new barracks, recur. 
As to animal food, it may be driven to one part of the country as 
easily as to another : that circumstance, therefore, may be thrown 
out of the question. As to bread, I suppose they will require 
about forty or forty-five thousand bushels of grain a year. The 
place to which it is to be brought to them, is about the centre of 
the State. Besides, that the country round about is fertile, all 
the grain made in the counties adjacent to any kind of navigation, 
may be brought by water to within twelve miles of the spot. For 
these twelve miles, wagons must be employed ; I suppose half a 
dozen will be a plenty. Perhaps, this part of the expense mjght 
have been saved, had the barracks been built on the water ; but 
it is not sufficient to justify their being abandoned now they are 
built. Wagonage, indeed, seems to the commissariat an article 
not worth economising. The most wanton and studied circuity of 
transportation has been practised : to mention only one act, they 
have bought quantities of flour for these troops in Cumberland, 
have ordered it to be wagoned down to Manchester, and wagoned 
thence up to the barracks. This fact happened to fall within my 
own knowledge. I doubt not there are many more such, in order 
either to produce their total removal, or to run up the expenses of 
the present situation, and satisfy Congress that the nearer they are 
brought to the commissary's own bed, the cheaper they will be 
subsisted. The grain made in the western counties may be 
brought partly in wagons, as conveniently to this as to any other 
place ; perhaps more so, on account of its vicinity to one of the 


best passes through the Blue Ridge ; and partly by water, as it is 
near to James river, to the navigation of which, ten counties are 
adjacent above the falls. When I said that the grain might be 
brought hither from all the counties of the State adjacent to navi- 
gation, I did not mean to say it would be proper to bring it from 
all. On the contrary, I think the commissary should be instructed, 
after the next harvest, not to send one bushel of grain to the 
barracks from below the falls of the rivers, or from the northern 
counties. The counties on tide water are accessible to the calls 
for our own army. Their supplies ought, therefore, to be hus- 
banded for them. The counties in the northwestern parts of the 
State are not only within reach for our own grand army, but pecu- 
liarly necessary for the support of Macintosh's army ; or for the 
support of any other northwestern expedition, which the uncertain 
conduct of the Indians should render necessary ; insomuch, that if 
the supplies of that quarter should be misapplied to any other pur- 
pose, it would destroy, in embryo, every exertion, either for par- 
ticular or general safety there. The counties above tide water, 
in the middle and southern and western parts of the country, are 
not accessible to calls for either of those purposes, but at such an 
expense of transportation as the article would not bear. Here, 
then, is a great field, whose supplies of bread cannot be carried 
to our army, or rather, which will raise no supplies of bread, be- 
cause there is nobody to eat them. Was it not, then, wise in 
Congress to remove to that field four thousand idle mouths, who 
must otherwise have interfered with the pasture of our own troops ? 
And, if they are removed to any other part of the country, will 
it not defeat this wise purpose ? The mills on the waters of 
James river, above the falls, open to canoe navigation, are very 
many. Some of them are of great note, as manufacturers. The 
barracks are surrounded by mills. There are five or six round 
about Charlottesville. Any two or three of the whole might, in 
the course of the winter, manufacture flour sufficient for the year. 
To say the worst, then, of this situation, it is but twelve miles 
wrong. The safe custody of these troops is another circumstance 
worthy consideration. Equally removed from the access of an 


eastern or western enemy ; central to the whole State, so that, 
should they attempt an irruption in any direction, they must pass 
through a great extent of hostile country ; in a neighborhood 
thickly inhabited by a robust and hardy people, zealous in the 
American cause, acquainted with the use of arms, and the denies 
and passes by which they must issue : it would seem, that in this 
point of view, no place could have been better chosen. 

Their health is also of importance. I would not endeavor to 
show that their lives are valuable to us, because it would suppose 
a possibility, that humanity was kicked out of doors in America, 
and interest only attended to. The barracks occupy the top and 
brow of a very high hill, (you have been untruly told they were 
in a bottom.) They are free from fog, have four springs which 
seem to be plentiful, one within twenty yards of the piquet, two 
within fifty yards, and another within two hundred and fifty, and 
they propose to sink wells within the piquet. Of four thousand 
people, it should be expected, according to the ordinary calcula- 
tions, that one should die every day. Yet, in the space of near 
three months, there have been but four deaths among them ; two 
infants under three weeks old, and two others by apoplexy. The 
officers tell me, the troops were never before so healthy since they 
were embodied. 

But is an enemy so execrable, that, though in captivity, his 
wishes and comforts are to be disregarded and even crossed ? I 
think not. It is for the benefit of mankind to mitigate the hor- 
rors of war as much as possible. The practice, therefore, of 
modern nations, of treating captive enemies with politeness and 
generosity, is not only delightful in contemplation, but really in- 
teresting to all the world, friends, foes and neutrals. Let us apply 
this : the officers, after considerable hardships, have all procured 
quarters, comfortable and satisfactory to them. In order to do 
this, they were obliged, in many instances, to hire houses for a 
year certain, and at such exorbitants rents, as were sufficient to 
tempt independent owners to go out of them, and shift as they 
could. These houses, in most cases, were much out of repair. 
They have repaired them at a considerable expense. One of 


the general officers has taken a place for two years, advanced the 
rent for the whole time, and been obliged, moreover, to erect ad- 
ditional buildings for the accommodation of part of his family, 
for which there was not room in the house rented. Independent 
of the brick work, for the carpentry of these additional build- 
ings, I know he is to pay fifteen hundred dollars. The same 
gentleman, to my knowledge, has paid to one person three thou- 
sand six hundred and seventy dollars for different articles to fix 
himself commodiously. They have generally laid in their stocks 
of grain and other provisions, for it is well known that officers 
do not live on their rations. They have purchased cows, sheep, 
&c., set in to farming, prepared their gardens, and have a pros- 
pect of comfort and quiet before them. To turn to the soldiers : 
the environs of the barracks are delightful, the ground cleared, 
laid off in hundreds of gardens, each enclosed in its separate 
paling ; these well prepared, and exhibiting a fine appearance. 
General Riedezel alone laid out upwards of two hundred pounds 
in garden seeds for the German troops only. Judge what an 
extent of ground these seeds would cover. There is little doubt 
that their own gardens will furnish them a great abundance of 
vegetables through the year. Their poultry, pigeons and other 
preparations of that kind, present to the mind the idea of a com- 
pany of farmers, rather than a camp of soldiers. In addition to 
the barracks built for them by the public, and now very com- 
fortable, they have built great numbers for themselves, in such 
messes as fancied each other ; and the whole corps, both officers 
and men, seem now happy and satisfied with their situation. 
Having thus found the art of rendering captivity itself comforta- 
ble, and carried it into execution, at their own great expense and 
labor, their spirits sustained by the prospect of gratifications rising 
before their eyes, does not every sentiment of humanity revolt 
against the proposition of stripping them of all this, and remov- 
ing them into new situations, where, from the advanced season 
of the year, no preparations can be made for carrying themselves 
comfortably through the heats of summer ; and when it is known 
that the necessary advances for the conveniences already pro- 


vided, have exhausted their funds and left them unable to make 
the like exertions anew. Again, review this matter, as it may 
regard appearances. A body of troops, after staying a twelve- 
month at Boston, are ordered to take a march of seven hundred 
miles to Virginia, where, it is said, they may be plentifully sub- 
sisted. As soon as they are there, they are ordered on some other 
march, because, in Virginia, it is said, they cannot be subsisted. 
Indifferent nations will charge this either to ignorance, or to whim 
and caprice ; the parties interested, to cruelty. They now view 
the proposition in that light, and it is said, there is a general and 
firm persuasion among them, that they were marched from Bos- 
ton with no other purpose than to harass and destroy them with 
eternal marches. Perseverance in object, though not by the most 
direct way, is often more laudable than perpetual changes, as 
often as the object shifts light. A character of steadiness in our 
councils, is worth more than the subsistence of four thousand 

There could not have been a more unlucky concurrence of cir- 
cumstances than when these troops first came. The barracks 
were unfinished for want of laborers, the spell of weather the 
worst ever known within the memory of man, no stores of bread 
laid in, the roads, by the weather and number of wagons, soon 
rendered impassable : not only the troops themselves were greatly 
disappointed, but the people in the neighborhood were alarmed at 
the consequences which a total failure of provisions might pro- 
duce. In this worst state of things, their situation was seen by 
many and disseminated through the country, so as to occasion a 
general dissatisfaction, which even seized the minds of reason- 
able men, who, if not affected by the contagion, must have fore- 
seen that the prospect must brighten, and that great advantages 
to the people must necessarily arise. It has, accordingly, so hap- 
pened. The planters, being more generally sellers than buyers, 
have felt the benefit of their presence in the most vital part 
about them, their purses, and are now sensible of its source. I 
have too good an opinion of their love of order to believe that a 
removal of these troops would produce any irregular proofs of their 


disapprobation, but I am well assured it would be extremely 
odious to them. 

To conclude. The separation of these troops would be a 
breach of public faith, therefore I suppose it is impossible ; if 
they are removed to another State, it is the fault of the commis- 
saries ; if they are removed to any other part of the State, it is the 
fault of the commissaries ; and in both cases, the public interest 
and public security suffer, the comfortable and plentiful subsist- 
ence of our own army is lessened, the health of the troops ne- 
glected, their wishes crossed, and their comforts torn from them, 
the character of whim and caprice, or, what is worse, of cruelty, 
fixed on us as a nation, and, to crown the whole, our own peo- 
ple disgusted with such a proceeding. 

I have thus taken the liberty of representing to you the facts 
and the reasons, which seem to militate against the separation or 
removal of these troops. I am sensible, however, that the same 
subject may appear to different persons, in very different lights. 
What I have urged as reasons, may, to sounder minds, be appa- 
rent fallacies. I hope they will appear, at least, so plausible, as 
to excuse the interposition of 

Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, 


WILUAMSBUUG, June 23, 1779. 

SIR, I have the pleasure to enclose you the particulars of 
Colonel Clarke's success against St. Vincennes, as stated in his 
letter but lately received ; the messenger, with his first letter, 
having been killed. I fear it will be impossible for Colonel 
Clarke to be so strengthened, as to enable him to do what he de- 
sires. Indeed, the express who brought this letter, gives us 
reason to fear St. Vincennes is in danger from a large body of 
Indians collected to attack it, and said, when he came from Kas- 
kaskias, to be within thirty leagues of the place. I also enclose 


you a letter from Colonel Shelby, stating the effect of his success 
against the seceding Cherokees, and Chuccamogga. The damage 
done them, was killing half a dozen, burning eleven towns, twen- 
ty thousand bushels of corn, collected probably to forward the ex- 
peditions which were to have been planned at the council which 
was to meet Governor Hamilton at the mouth of the Tennes- 
see, and taking as many goods as sold for twenty-five thousand 
pounds. I hope these two blows coming together, and the de- 
priving them of their head, will, in some measure, effect the 
quiet of our frontiers this summer. We have intelligence, also, 
that Colonel Bowman, from Kentucky, is in the midst of the 
Shawnee country, with three hundred men, and hope to hear a 
good account of him. The enclosed order, being in its nature 
important, and generally interesting, I think it proper to transmit 
it to you, with the reasons supporting it.* It will add much to 
our satisfaction, to know it meets your approbation. 

I have the honor to be, with every sentiment of private respect 
and public gratitude, 

Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant, 

P. S. The distance of our northern and western counties, 


KASKASKIAS, ILLINOIS, April 29, 1779. 

DEAR SIR, A few days ago, I received certain intelligence of William Morris, mj 
express to you, being killed near the falls of Ohio ; news truly disagreeable to me, as 
I fear many of my letters will fall into the hands of the enemy, at Detroit, although 
Eomeof them, as I learn, were found in the woods torn in pieces. I do not doubt but 
before the receipt of his, you will have heard of my late success against Governor 
Hamilton, at post St. Vincennes. That gentleman, with a body of men, possessed 
himself of that post on the 15th of December last, repaired the fortifications for a re- 
pository, and in the spring, meant to attack this place, which he made no doubt of 
carrying; where he was to be joined by two hundred Indians from Michilimackinac, 
and five hundred Cherokees, Chickasaws, and other nations. With this body, he was 
to penetrate up the Ohio to Fort Pitt, sweeping Kentucky on his way, having light 
bras-s cannon for the purpose, joined on his march by all the Indians that could be got 
to him. He made no doubt, that he could force all West Augusta. This expedition 
was ordered by the commander-in-chief of Canada, Destruction seemed to hover 
over us from every quarter ; detached parties of the enemy were in the neighborhood 


from the scene of southern service, and the necessity of strength- 
ening our western quarter, have induced the Council to direct 
the new levies from the counties of Yohogania, Ohio, Monon- 
galia, Frederick, Hampshire, Berkeley, Rockingham, and Green- 
brier, amounting to somewhat less than three hundred men, to 

every day, but afraid to attack. I ordered Major Bowman to evacuate the fort at the 
Cohas, aud join me immediately, which he did. Having not received a scrape of a 
pen from you, for near twelve months, I could see but little probability of keeping 
possession of the country, as my number of men was too small to stand a siege, and 
my situation too remote to call for assistance. I made .all the preparations I possibly 
could for the attack, and was necessitated to set fire to some of the houses in toAvn, to 
clear them out of the way. But in the height of the hurry, a Spanish merchant, who 
had been at St. Vincennes, arrived, and gave the following intelligence : that Mr. 
Hamilton had weakened himself, by sending his Indians against the frontiers, and to 
block up the Ohio ; that he had not more than eighty men in garrison, three pieces 
of cannon, and some swivels mounted ; and that he intended to attack this place, as 
soon as the winter opened, and made no doubt of clearing the western waters by the 
fall. My situation and circumstances induced me to fall on the resolution of attacking 
him, before he could collect his Indians again. I was sensible the resolution was as 
desperate as my situation, but I saw no other probability of securing the country. I 
immediately despatched a small galley, which I had fitted up, mounting two four 
pounders and four swivels, with a company of men and necessary stores on board, 
with orders to force her way, if possible, and station herself a few miles below the 
enemy, suffer nothing to pass her, and wait for further orders. In the meantime, I 
marched across the country with one hundred and thirty men, being all I could raise, 
after leaving this place garrisoned by the militia. The inhabitants of the country be- 
haved exceedingly well, numbers of young men turned out on the expedition, and 
every other one embodied to guard the different towns. I marched the 7th of 
February. Although so small a body, it took me sixteen days on the route. The in- 
clemency of the season, high waters, <fcc., seemed to threaten the loss of the expedition. 
When within three leagues of the enemy, in a direct line, it took us five days to cross 
the drowned lands of the W abash river, having to wade often, upwards of two 
leagues, to our breast in water. Had not the weather been warm, we must have 
perished. But on the evening of the 23d, we got on dry land, in sight of the enemy; 
and at seven o'clock, made the attack, before they knew anything of us. The town 
immediately surrendered with joy, and assisted in the seige. There was a continual 
fire on both sides, for eighteen hours. I had no expectation of gaining the fort until 
the arrival of my artillery. The moon setting about, one o'clock, I had an entrench- 
ment thrown up within rifle shot of their strongest battery, and poured such showers 
of well-directed balls into their ports, that we silenced two pieces of cannon in fifteen 
minutes, without getting a man hurt. 

Governor Hamilton and myself had, on the following day, several conferences, but 
did not agree until the evening, when he agreed to surrender the garrison (seventy- 
Dine in number) prisoners of war, with considerable stores. I got only one 


enter into the ninth regiment at Pittsburg. The aid they may 
give there, will be so immediate and important, and what they 
could do to the southward, would be so late, as, I hope, will 
apologise for their interference. 

T. J. 

wounded ; not being able to lose many, I made them secure themselves well. Seven 
were badly wounded in the fort, through the ports. In the height of this action, an 
Indian party that had been to war, and taken two prisoners, came in, not knowing 
of us. Hearing of them, I despatched a party to give them battle in the commons, 
and got nine of them, with the two prisoners, who proved to be Frenchmen. Hearing 
of a convoy of goods from Detroit, I sent a party of sixty men, in armed boats well 
mounted with swivels, to meet them, before they could receiye any intelligence. 
They met the convoy forty leagues up the river, and made a prize of the whole, 
taking forty prisoners and about ten thousand pounds worth of goods and provisions ; 
also, the mail from Canada to Governor Hamilton, containing, however, no news of 
importance. But what crowned the general joy, was the arrival of William Morris, 
my express to you, with your letters, which gave general satisfaction. The soldiery, 
being made sensible of the gratitude of their country for their services, were so much 
elated, that they would have attempted the reduction of Detroit, had I ordered them. 
Having more prisoners than I knew what to do with, I was obliged to discharge a 
greater part of them, on parole. Mr. Hamilton, his principal officers and a few sol- 
diers, I have sent to Kentucky, under a convoy of Captain Williams, in order to be 
conducted to you. After despatching Morris with letters to you, treating with the 
neighboring Indians, &c., I returned to this place, leaving a sufficient garrison at St. 

During my absence, Captain Robert George, who now commands the company 
formerly commanded by Captain Willing, had returned from New Orleans, which 
greatly added to our strength. It gave great satisfaction to the inhabitants, when 
acquainted with the protection which was given them, the alliance with France, &c. 
I am impatient for the arrival of Colonel Montgomery, but have heard nothing of him 
lately. By your instructions to me, I find you put no confidence in General M'ln- 
tosh's taking Detroit, as you encourage me to attempt it, if possible. It had been 
twice in my power. Had I been able to raise only five hundred men when I first ar- 
rived in the country, or when I was at St. Vincennes, could I have secured my prison- 
ers, and only have had three hundred good men, I should have attempted it, and 
since learn there could have been no doubt of success, as by some gentlemen lately 
from that post, we are informed that the town and country kept three days in feast 
ing and diversions, on hearing of my success against Mr. Hamilton, and were so cer- 
tain of my embracing the fair opportunity of possessing myself of that post, that 
the merchants and others provided many necessaries for us on our arrival ; the gar- 
rison, consisting of only eighty men, not daring to stop their diversions. They are 
now completing a new fort, and I fear too strong for any force I shall ever be able to 
raise in this country. We are proud to hear Congress intends putting their forces on 
the frontiers, under your direction. A small army from Pittsburg, conducted with 
spirit, may easily take Detroit, and put an end to the Indian war. Those Indians 



WiLMAMsBuac, July 17, 170'.). 

SIR, I some time ago, enclosed to you a printed copy of an 
order of Council, by which Governor Hamilton was to be con- 

who are active against us, are the six nations, part of tlie Shawnese, the Meamonies, 
and about half the Chesawey-s Ottawas, Jowaas, and Pottawatimas nations, border- 
ing on the lakes. Those nations who have treated with me, have behaved since very 
well ; to wit, the Peaukishaws, Kiccapoos, Orcaottenans of the Wabash river, the 
Kaskias, Perrians, Mecljigamies, Foxes, Socks, Opays, Illinois and Poues, nations of 
the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Part of the Chessaweys have also treated, and 
are peaceable. I continually keep agents among them, to watch their motions and 
keep them peaceably inclined. Many of the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and their con- 
federates, are, I fear, ill disposed. It would be well if Colonel Montgomery should 
give them a dressing, as he comes down the Tennessee. There can be no peace ex- 
pected from many nations, while the English are at Detroit. I strongly suspect they 
will turn their arms against the Illinois, as they will be encouraged. I shall always 
be on my guard, watching every opportunity to take the advantage of the enemy, 
and, if I am ever able to muster six or seven hundred men, I shall give them a 
shorter distance to come and fight me, than at this place. 

There is one circumstance very distressing, that of our 'moneys being discredited, 
to all intents and purposes, by the great number of traders who come here in my 
absence, each outbidding the other, giving prices unknown in this country by five 
hundred per cent., by which the people conceived it to be of no value, and both 
French and Spaniards refused to take a farthing of it. Provision is three times the 
price it was two months past, and to be got by no other means than my own bonds, 
goods, or force. Several merchants are now advancing considerable sums of their 
own property, rather than the service should suffer, by which I am sensible they 
must lose greatly, unless some method is taken to raise the credit of our coin, or 
a fund be sent to Orleans, for the payment of the expenses of this place, which 
would at once reduce the price of every species of provision ; money being of little 
service to them, unless it would pass at the ports they trade at. I mentioned to you, 
my drawing some bills on Mr. Pollock in New Orleans, as I had no money with me. 
He would accept the bills, but had not money to pay them off, though the sums were 
trifling ; so that we have little credit to expect from that quarter. I shall take every 
step I possibly can, for laying up a sufficient quantity of provisions, and hope you 
will immediately send me an express with your instructions. Public expenses in 
this country, have hitherto been very low, and may still continue so, if a corre- 
spondence is fixed at New Orleans for payment of expenses in this country, or gold 
and silver sent. I am glad to hear of Colonel Todd's appointment. I think govern 
ment has taken the only step they could have done, to make this country flourish, 
and be of service to them. No other regulation would have suited the people. The 
last account I had of Colonel Rogers, was his being in New Orleans, with six of his 
men. The rest he left at the Spanish Ozack, above the Natches. I shall imme- 
diately send him some provisions, as I luarn he is in great want. I doubt, he will 
VOL. I. 15 


fined in irons, in close jail, which has occasioned a letter from 
General Phillips, of which the enclosed is a copy The General 
seems to think that a prisoner on capitulation, cannot be put in 
close confinement, though his capitulation should not have pro- 
vided against it. My idea was, that all persons taken in war, 

not be able to get his goods up the river except in Spanish bottoms. One regiment 
would be able to clear the Mississippi, and do great damage to the British interests 
in Florida, and, by properly conducting themselves, might perhaps gain the affection 
of the people, so as to raise a sufficient force to give a shock to Pensacola. Our 
alliance with France has entirely devoted this people to our interest. I have sent 
several copies of the articles to Detroit, and do not doubt but they will produce 
the desired effect. Your instructions I shall pay implicit regard to, and hope to 
conduct myself in such a manner as to do honor to my country. 

I am, with the greatest respect, your humble servant, 


P. S. I understand there is a considerable quantity of cannon ball at Pittsburg. 
We are much in want of four and six pound ball. I hope you will immediately order 
some down. 

IN COUNCIL, June 18, 1779. 

The board proceeded to the consideration of the letters of Colonel Clarke, and 
other papers relating to Henry Hamilton, Esq., who has acted for some years past as 
Lieutenant Governor of the settlement at and .about Detroit, and commandant of the 
British garrison there, under Sir Guy Carluton, as Governor-in-chief ; Philip Dejean 
justice of the peace for Detroit, and William Lamothe, captain of volunteers, pris- 
oners of war, taken in the county of Illinois. 

They find, that Governor Hamilton has executed the task of inciting the Indians to 
perpetrate their accustomed cruelties on the citizens of the United States, without 
distinction of age, sex, or condition, with an eagerness and avidity which evince, that 
the general nature of his charge harmonized with his particular disposition. They 
should have been satisfied, from the other testimony adduced, that these enormities 
were committed by savages acting under his commission ; but the number of procla- 
mations which, at different times, were left in houses, the inhabitants of which were 
killed or carried away by the Indians, one of which proclamations is in possession of 
the board, under the hand and seal of Governor Hamilton, puts this fact beyond a 
doubt. At the time of his captivity, it appears, he had sent considerable bodies of 
Indians against the frontier settlements of these States, and had actually appointed 
a great council of Indians, to meet him at Tennessee, to concert the operations of 
this present campaign. They find that his treatment of our citizens and soldiers, 
taken and carried within the limits of his command, has been cruel and inhuman ; 
that in the case of John Dodge, a citizen of these States, which has been particularly 
stated to this board, he loaded him with irons, threw him into a dungeon, without 
bedding, without straw, without fire, in the dead of winter and severe climate of De- 


were to be deemed prisoners of war. That those who surrender 
on capitulation (or convention) are prisoners of war also, subject to 
the same treatment with those who surrender at discretion, except 
only so far as the terms of their capitulation or convention shall 
have guarded them. In the capitulation of Governor Hamilton 

troit ; that, in that state, he wasted him with incessant expectations of death : that 
when the rigors of his situation had brought him so low, that death seemed likely to 
withdraw him from their power, he was taken out and somewhat attended to, until 
a little mended, and before he had recovered ability to walk, was again returned to 
his dungeon, in which a hole was cut, seven inches square only, for the admission of 
air, and the same load of irons again put on him : that appearing, a second time, in 
imminent danger of being lost to them, he was again taken from his dungeon, in. 
which he had lain from January till June, with the intermission of a few weeks only, 
before mentioned. That Governor Hamilton gave standing rewards for scalps, but 
offered none for prisoners, which induced the Indians, after making their captives 
carry their baggage into the neighborhood of the fort, there to put them to death, 
and carry iu their scalps to the Governor, who welcomed their return and success by 
a discharge of cannon. That when a prisoner, brought alive, and destined to death 
by the Indians, the fire already kindled, and himself bound to the stake, was dexter- 
ously withdrawn, and secreted from them by the humanity of a fellow prisoner, a 
large reward was offered for the discovery of the victim, which having tempted a 
servant to betray his concealment, the present prisoner Dejean, being sent with a 
party of soldiers, surrounded the house, took and threw into jail the unhappy victim 
and his deliverer, where the former soon expired under the perpetual assurances of 
Dejean, that he was to be again restored into the hands of the savages ; and the 
latter, when enlarged, was bitterly reprimanded by Governor Hamilton. 

It appears to them, that the prisoner Dejean was OB all occasions the willing and 
cordial instrument of Governor Hamilton, acting both as judge and keeper of the jails, 
and instigating and urging him, by malicious insinuations and untruths, to increase, 
rather than relax his severities, heightening the cruelty of his orders by his manner 
of executing them ; offering at one time a reward to one man to be hangman for 
another, threatening his life on refusal, and taking from his prisoners the little 
property their opportunities enabled them to acquire. 

It appears that the prisoner Lamothe was a captain of the volunteer scalping par- 
ties of Indians and whites, who went, from time to time, under general orders to 
spare neither men, women, nor children. From this detail of circumstances, which 
arose in a few cases only, coming accidentally to the knowledge of the board, they 
think themselves authorized by fair deduction, to presume what would be the horrid 
history of the sufferings of the many who have expired under their miseries, (which, 
therefore, will remain forever untold,) or, who have escaped from them, and are yet 
too remote and too much dispersed, to bring together their well-founded accusations 
against the prisoners. 

They have seen that the conduct of the British officers, civil and military, has in 
the whole course of this war been savage, and unprecedented among civilized 


(a copy of which I enclose), no stipulation is made as to the 
treatment of himself, or those taken with him. The Governor, 
indeed, when he signs, adds a flourish of reasons inducing him 
to capitulate, one of which is the generosity of his enemy. 
Generosity, on a large and comprehensive scale, seems to dictate 
the making a signal example of this gentleman ; but waving that, 
these are the only private motives inducing him to surrender, and 
do not enter into the contract of Colonel Clarke. I have the 
highest idea of those contracts which take place between nation 
and nation, at war, and would be the last on earth to do anything 
in violation of them. I can find nothing in those books usually 
recurred to as testimonials of the law and usages of nature 
and nations, which convicts the opinions I have above expressed 

nations ; our officers taken by them, have been confined in crowded jails, loath- 
some dungeons and prison ships, loaded with irons, supplied often with no food, 
generally with too little for the sustenance of nature, and that little sometimes un- 
sound and unwholesome, whereby such numbers have perished, that captivity and 
death have with them been almost synonymous ; that they have been transported 
beyond seas, where their fate is out of the reach of our inquiry, have been compelled 
to take arms against their country, and by a refinement in cruelty, to become mur- 
derers of their own brethren. 

Their prisoners with us have, on the other hand, been treated with humanity and 
moderation ; they have been fed, on all occasions, with wholesome and plentiful food, 
suffered to go at large within extensive tracts of country, treated with liberal hospi- 
tality, permitted to live in the families of our citizens, to labor for themselves, to ac- 
quire and enjoy profits, and finally to participate of the principal benefits of society, 
privileged from all burdens. 

Reviewing this contrast, which cannot be denied by our enemies themselves, in a 
single point, and which has now been kept up during four years of unremitting Avar, 
a term long enough to produce well-founded despair that our moderation may ever 
lead them to the practice of humanity ; called on by that justice we OAVC to those 
Avho are fighting the battles of our country, to deal out, at length, miseries to their 
enemies, measure for measure, and to distress the feelings of mankind by exhibiting 
to them spectacles of severe retaliation, where we had long and vainly endeavored 
to introduce an emulation in kindness ; happily possessed, by the fortune of war, of 
some of those very individuals who, having distinguished themselves personally in 
this line of cruel conduct, are fit subjects to begin on, with the work of retaliation ; 
this board has resolved to advise the Governor, that the said Henry Hamilton. 
Philip Dejean and William Lamothe, prisoners of war, be put in irons, confined in 
the dungeons of the public jail, debarred the use of pen, ink and paper, and ex- 
cluded all converse, except Avith their keeper. And the Governer orders accordingly. 



of error. Yet there may be such an usage as General Phillips 
seems to suppose, though not taken notice of hy these writers. 
I am obliged to trouble your Excellency on this occasion, by 
asking of you information on this point. There is no other per- 
son, whose decision will so authoritatively decide this doubt in 
the public mind, and none with which I am disposed so implicitly 
to comply. If you shall be of opinion, that the bare existence 
of a capitulation, in the case of Governor Hamilton, privileges 
him from confinement, though there be no article to that effect 
in the capitulation, justice shall most assuredly be done him. 
The importance of this point, in a public view, and my own 
anxiety under a charge of violation of national faith by the 
Executive of this Commonwealth, will, I hope, apologise for my 
adding this to the many troubles with which I know you to be 
burdened. I have the honor to be, with the most profound 

Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 

P. S. I have just received a letter from Colonel Bland, con- 
taining information of numerous desertions from the Convention 
troops, not less than four hundred in the last fortnight. He thinks 
he has reason to believe it is with the connivance of some of 
their officers. Some of these have been retaken, all of them going 
northwardly. They had provided themselves with forged pass- 
ports, and with certificates of having taken the oath of fidelity to 
the State ; some of them forged, others really given by weak mag- 
istrates. I give this information to your Excellency, as, perhaps, 
it may be in your power to have such of them intercepted as shall 
be passing through Pennsylvania and Jersey. 

Your letter enclosing the opinion of the board of war in the 
case of Allison and Lee, has come safe to hand, after a long pas- 
sage. It shall be answered by next post. 



WILLIAMSBURG, October 1, 1779. 

SIR, On receipt of your letter of August 6th, during my ab- 
sence, the Council had the irons taken off the prisoners of war. 
When your advice was asked, we meant it should decide with us ; 
and upon my return to Williamsburg, the matter was taken up 
and the enclosed advice given.* A parole was formed, of which 
the enclosed is a copy, and tendered to the prisoners. They ob- 
jected to that part of it, which restrained them from saying any- 
thing to the prejudice of the United States, and insisted on " freedom 
of speech." They were, in consequence, remanded to their con- 
finement in the jail, which must be considered as a voluntary one, 
until they can determine with themselves to be inoffensive in word 

* Ix COUNCIL, September 29lh, 1779. 

The board having been, at no time, unmindful of the circumstances attending the 
confinement of Lieutenant Governor Hamilton, Captain Lamothe and Philip Dejeau, 
which the personal cruelties of those men, as well as the general conduct of the en- 
emy, had constrained them to advise : wishing, and willing to expect, that their suf- 
ferings may lead them to the practice of humanity, should any future turn of fortune, 
in their favor, submit to their discretion the fate of their fellow-creatures ; that it 
may prove an admonition to others, meditating like cruelties, not to rely for impunity 
in any circumstances of distance or present security ; and that it may induce the en- 
emy to reflect, what must be the painful consequences, should a continuation of tne 
same conduct on their part, impel us again to severities, while such multiplied subjects 
of retaliation are within our power: sensible. that no impression can be made on the 
event of the war, by wreaking vengeance on miserable captives ; that the great cause 
which has animated the two nations against each other, is not to be decided by un- 
manly cruelties on wretches, who have bowed their necks to the power of the victor, 
but by the exercise of honorable valor in the field : earnestly hoping that the enemy, 
viewing the subject in the same light, will be content to abide the event of that mode 
of decision, and spare us the pain of a second departure from kindness to our cap- 
tives : confident that commiseration to our prisoners is the only possible motive to 
which can be candidly ascribed, in the present actual circumstances of the war, tho 
advice we are now about to give ; tlie^board does advise the Governor to send Lieu- 
tenant Governor Hamilton, Captain Lamothe and Philip Dejean, to Hanover court- 
house, there to remain at large, within certain reasonable limits, taking the parole : a 
the usual manner. The Governor orders accordingly. ARCH: BLAIR, C. C. 

Ordered, that Major John Hay be sent, also, under parole, to the same place 



as well as deed. A flag sails hence to-morrow to New York, to 
negotiate the exchange of some prisoners. By her, I have written 
to General Phillips on this subject, and enclosed to him copies of 
the within ; intending it as an answer to a letter I received from 
him on the subject of Governor Hamilton. I have the honor to 
be, Sir, 

Your most obedient, and most humble servant. 


WlLLIAMSBURG, Oct. 2, 1779. 

SIR, Just as the letter accompanying this was going off, Col- 
onel Mathews arrived on parole from New York, by the way of 
head-quarters, bringing your Excellency's letter, on his subject, 
with that of the British commissary of prisoners. The sub- 
ject is of great importance, and I must, therefore, reserve myself 
to answer after further consideration. Were I to speak from 
present impressions, I should say it was happy for Governor Ham- 
ilton, that a final determination of his fate was formed before this 
new information. As the enemy have released Captain Willing 
from his irons, the Executive of this State will be induced, per- 
haps, not to alter their former opinion. But it is impossible they 
can be serious in attempting to bully us in this manner. We 
have too many of their subjects in our power, and, too much iron 
to clothe them with, and I will add, too much resolution to avail 
ourselves of both, to fear their pretended retaliation. However, 
I will do myself the honor of forwarding to your Excellency the 
ultimate result of Council on this subject. 

In consequence of the information in the letter from the British 
commissary of prisoners, that no officers of the Virginia line 
should be exchanged till Governor Hamilton's affair should be 
settled, we have stopped our flag, which was just hoisting anchor 
with a load of privates for New York. I must, therefore, ask 
the favor of your Excellency to forward the enclosed by flag, 


when an opportunity offers, as I suppose General Phillips will be 
in New York before it reaches you. I have the honor to be, Sir, 
with the greatest esteem, 

Your most obedient, and most humble servant. 


IN COUNCIL, Oct. 8, 1779. 

SIR, In mine of the second of the present month, written in 
the instant of Colonel Mathews' delivery of your letter, I informed 
you what had been done on the subject of Governor Hamilton and 
his companions, previous to that moment. I now enclose you an 
advice of Council,* in consequence of the letter you were pleased 
to enclose me, from the British commissary of prisoners, with 
one from Lord Rawdon ; also a copy of my letter to Colonel 
Mathews, enclosing, also, the papers therein named. The advice 
of Council to allow the enlargement of prisoners, on their giving 
a proper parole, has not been recalled, nor will be, I suppose, 
unless something on the part of the enemy should render it neces- 
sary. I rather expect, however, that they will see it their interest 
to discontinue this kind of conduct. I am afraid I shall hereafter, 
perhaps, be obliged to give your Excellency some trouble in aiding 
me to obtain information of the future usage of our prisoners. 
I shall give immediate orders for having in readiness every engine 
which the enemy have contrived for the destruction of our un- 
happy citizens, captured by them. The presentiment of these 
operations is shocking beyond expression. I pray heaven to avert 
them ; but nothing in this world will do it, but a proper conduct 

* IN COUNCIL, October 8th, 1779. 

The Governor ii advised to take proper and effectual measures for knowing, from 
time to time, the situation and treatment of our prisoners by the enemy, and to ex- 
tend to theirs, with us, a like treatment, in every circumstance ; and, also, to order to a 
proper station, the prison ship fitted up on recommendation from Congress, for the 
roception and confinement of such prisoners of war as shall be sent to it. 



in the enemy. In every event,- 1 shall resign myself to the hard 
necessity under which I shall act. 

I have the honor to be, with great regard and esteem, your Ex- 
cellency's most obedient, and most humble servant. 


IN CouNcir,, October, 1779. 

SIR, The proceedings respecting Governor Hamilton and his 
companions, previous to your arrival here, you are acquainted with. 
For your more precise information, I enclose you the advice of 
Council, of June the 16th, of that of August the 28th, another of 
September the 19th, on the parole tendered them the 1st instant, 
and Governor Hamilton's letter of the same day, stating his objec- 
tions, in which he persevered : from that time his confinement has 
become a voluntary one. You delivered us your letters the next 
day, when the post being just setting out, much business prevented 
the Council from taking them into consideration. They have this 
day attended to them, and found their resolution expressed in the 
enclosed advice, bearing date this day. It gives us great pain that 
any of our countrymen should be cut off from the society of their 
friends and tenderest connections, while it seems as if it was in 
our power to administer relief. But we trust to their good sense 
for discerning, and their spirit for bearing up against the fallacy of 
this appearance. Governor Hamilton and his companions were 
imprisoned and ironed, 1st. In retaliation for cruel treatment of 
our captive citizens by the enemy in general. 2d. For the bar- 
barous species of warfare which himself and his savage allies 
carried on in our western frontier. 3d. For particular acts of 
barbarity, of which he himself was personally guilty, to some of 
our citizens in his power. Any one of these charges was sufficient 
to justify the measures we took. Of the truth of the first, your- 
selves are witnesses. Your situation, indeed, seems to have been 
better since you were sent to New York ; but reflect on what you 
suffered before that, and knew others of your countrymen to suf- 


fer, and what you know is now suffered by that more unhappy 
part of them who are still confined on board the prison ships of 
the enemy. Proofs of the second charge, we have under Hamil- 
ton's own hand; and of the third, as sacred assurances as human 
testimony is capable of giving. Humane conduct on our part was 
found to produce no effect ; the contrary, therefore, was to be 
tried. If it produces a proper lenity to our citizens in captivity, 
it will have the effect we meant; if it does not, we shall return a 
severity as terrible as universal. If the causes of our rigor 
against Hamilton were founded in truth, that rigor was just, and 
would not give right to the enemy to commence any new hos- 
tilities on their part ; and all such new severities are to be con- 
sidered, not as retaliation, but as original and unprovoked. If 
those causes were not founded in truth, they should have denied 
them. If, declining the tribunal of truth and reason, they choose 
to pervert this into a contest of cruelty and destruction, we will 
contend with them in that line, and measure out misery to those 
in our power, in that multiplied proportion which the advantage of 
superior numbers enables us to do. We shall think it our partic- 
ular duty, after the information we gather from the papers which 
have been laid before us, to pay very constant attention to your 
situation and that of your fellow prisoners. We hope that the 
prudence of the enemy will be your protection from injury ; and 
we are assured that your regard for the honor of your country, 
would not permit you to wish we should surfer ourselves to be 
bullied into an acquiescence, under every insult and cruelty they 
may choose to practice, and a fear to retaliate, lest you should be 
made to experience additional sufferings. Their officers and sol- 
diers, in our hands are pledges for your safety: we are determined 
to use them as such. Iron will be retaliated by iron, but a great, 
multiplication on distinguished objects: prison ships by prison 
ships, and like for like in general. I do not mean by this to cover 
any officer who has acted, or shall act improperly. They say 
Captain Willing was guilty of great cruelties at the Natches ; if 
so, they do right in punishing him. I would use any powers I 
have, for the punishment of any officer of our own, who should 


be guilty of excesses unjustifiable under the usages of civilized 
nations. However, I do not find myself obliged to believe the 
charge against Captain Willing to be true, on the affirmation of 
the British commissary, because, in the next breath, he affirms no 
cruelties have as yet been inflicted on him. Captain Willing has 
been in irons. 

I beg you to be assured, there is nothing, consistent with the 
honor of your country, which we shall not, at all times, be ready 
to do for the relief of yourself and companions in captivity. We 
know that ardent spirit and hatred for tyranny, which brought 
you into your present situation, will enable you to bear up against 
it with the firmness which has distinguished you as a soldier, and 
to look forward with pleasure to the day, when events shall take 
place, against which, the wounded spirits of your enemies will 
find no comfort, even from reflections on the most refined of the 
cruelties with which they have glutted themselves. 

I am, with great respect, your most obedient, and most humble 


o, November 28th, 1779. 

SIR, Your Excellency's letter on the discriminations which 
have been heretofore made, between the troops raised within this 
State, and considered as part of our quota, and those not so con- 
sidered, was delivered me four days ago. I immediately laid it 
before the Assembly, who thereupon came to the resolution I 
now do myself the honor of enclosing you. The resolution of 
Congress, of March 15th, 1779, which you were so kind as to 
enclose, was never known in this State till a few weeks ago, 
when we received printed copies of the Journals of Congress. It 
would be a great satisfaction to us, to receive an exact return of 
all the men we have in Continental service, who come within 
the description of the resolution, together with our State troops 


in Continental service. Colonel Cabell was so kind as to send 
me a return of the Continental regiments commanded by Lord 
Sterling, of the first and second Virginia State regiments, and of 
Colonel Gist's regiment. Besides these are the following ; viz., 
Colonel Harrison's regiment of artillery, Colonel Bayler's horse, 
Colonel Eland's horse, General Scott's new levies, part of which 
are gone to Carolina, and part are here, Colonel Gibson's regi- 
ment stationed on the Ohio, Heath and O'Hara's independent com- 
panies at the same stations, Colonel Taylor's regiment of guards 
to the Convention troops : of these, we have a return. There 
may, possibly, be others not occurring to me. A return of all 
these would enable us to see what proportion of the Continental 
army is contributed by us. We have, at present, very pressing 
calls to send additional numbers of men to the southward. No 
inclination is wanting in either the Legislature or Executive, to 
aid them or strengthen you ; but we find it very difficult to pro- 
cure men. I herewith transmit to your Excellency some recruit- 
ing commissions, to be put into such hands as you may think 
proper, for re-enlisting such of our soldiery as are not already en- 
gaged for the war. The Act of Assembly, authorizing these in- 
structions, requires that the men enlisted should be reviewed and 
received by an officer to be appointed for that purpose ; a caution 
less necessary in the case of men now actually in service, and, 
therefore, doubtless, able bodied, than in the raising new recruits. 
The direction, however, goes to all cases, and, therefore, we must 
trouble your Excellency with the appointment of one or more 
officers of review. Mr. Moss, our agent, receives orders, which 
accompany this, to pay the bounty money and recruiting money, 
and to deliver the clothing. We have, however, certain reason 
to fear he has not any great sum of money on hand ; and it is 
absolutely out of our power, at this time, to supply him, or to 
say, with certainty, when we shall be able to do it. He is in- 
structed to note his acceptances under the draughts, and to assure 
payment as soon as we shall have it in our power to furnish 
him, as the only substitute for money. Your Excellency's direc- 
tions to the officer of review, will probably procure us the satis- 


faction of being informed, from time to time, how many men 
shall be re-enlisted. 

By Colonel Mathews, I informed your Excellency fully of the 
situation of Governor Hamilton and his companions. Lamothe 
and Dejean have given their paroles, and are at Hanover Court- 
House : Hamilton, Hay, and others, are still obstinate ; therefore, 
still in close confinement, though their irons have never been on, 
since your second letter on the subject. I wrote full information 
of this matter to General Phillips also, from whom I had received 
letters on the subject. I cannot, in reason, believe that the enemy, 
on receiving this information, either from yourself or General 
Phillips, will venture to impose any new cruelties on our officers 
in captivity with them. Yet their conduct, hitherto, has been 
most successfully prognosticated by reversing the conclusions of 
right reason. It is, therefore, my duty, as well as it was my 
promise to the Virginia captives, to take measures for discovering 
any change which may be made in their situation. For this 
purpose, I must apply for your Excellency's interposition. I 
doubt not but you have an established mode of knowing, at all 
times, through your commissary of prisoners, the precise state of 
those in the power of the enemy. I must, therefore, pray you 
to put into motions, any such means you have, for obtaining 
knowledge of the situation of the Virginia officers in captivity. 
If you should think proper, as I could wish, to take upon your- 
self to retaliate any new sufferings which may be imposed on 
them, it will be more likely to have due weight, and to restore 
the unhappy on both sides, to that benevolent treatment for 
which all should wish. 

I have the honor to be, &c., &c. 


WILLIAMSBURG, December 10, 1779. 

SIR, I take the liberty of putting under cover to your Excel 
lency, some letters to Generals Phillips and Reidezel, uninformed 


whether they are gone into New York or not, and knowing that 
you can best forward them in either case. 

I also trouble you with a letter from the master of the flag in 
this State, to the British commissary of prisoners in New York, 
trusting it will thus be more certainly conveyed than if sent to 
Mr. Adams. It is my wish that the British commissary should 
return his answer through your Excellency, or your commissary 
of prisoners, and that they should not propose, under this pretext, 
to send another flag, as the mission of the present flag is not un- 
attended with circumstances of suspicion ; and a certain infor- 
mation of the situation of ourselves and our allies here, might 
influence the measures of the enemy. 

Perhaps your commissary of prisoners can effect the former 
method of answer. 

I enclose to you part of an Act of Assembly ascertaining the 
quantity of land which shall be allowed to the officers and sol- 
diers at the close of the war, and providing means of keeping 
that country vacant which has been allotted for them. 

I am advised to ask your Excellency's attention to the case of 
Colonel Bland, late commander of the barracks in Albemarle. 
When that gentleman was appointed to that command, he attended 
the Executive here, and informed them, he must either decline 
it, or be supported in such a way as would keep up that respect 
which was essential to his command ; without, at the same time, 
ruining his private fortune. 

The Executive were sensible he would be exposed to great 
and unavoidable expense : they observed, his command would be 
in a department separate from any other, and that he actually re- 
lieved a Major General from the same service. They did not 
think themselves authorized to say what should be done in this 
case, but undertook to represent the matter to Congress, and, in 
the meantime, gave it as their opinion that he ought to be allowed 
a decent table. On this he undertook the office, and in the course 
of it incurred expenses which seemed to have been unavoidable, 
unless he would have lived in such a way as is hardly reconcila- 
ble to the spirit of an officer, or the reputation of those in whose 


service he is. Governor Henry wrote on the subject to Congress ; 
Colonel Bland did the same ; hut we learn they have concluded 
the allowance to be unprecedented, and inadmissible in the case 
of an officer of his rank. The commissaries, on this, have 
called on Colonel Bland for reimbursement. A sale of his estate 
was about to take place, when we undertook to recommend to 
them to suspend their demand, till we could ask the favor of you 
to advocate this matter so far with Congress, as you may think 
it right ; otherwise the ruin of a very worthy officer must in- 
evitably follow. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect and esteem. 
Your Excellency's most obedient servant. 


WILLI.AMSBURO, February 10, 1780. 

SIR, It is possible you may have heard, that in the course of 
last summer an expedition was meditated, by our Colonel Clarke, 
against Detroit : that he had proceeded so far as to rendezvous a 
considerable body of Indians, I believe four or five thousand, at 
St. Vincennes ; but, being disappointed in the number of whites 
he expected, and not choosing to rely principally on the Indians, 
he was obliged to decline it. We have a tolerable prospect of 
reinforcing him this spring, to the number which he thinks suffi- 
cient for the enterprise. We have informed him of this, and left 
him to decide between this object, and that of giving vigorous 
chastisement to those tribes of Indians, whose eternal hostilities 
have proved them incapable of living on friendly terms with us. 
It is our opinion, his inclination will lead him to determine on 
the former. The reason of my laying before your Excellency 
this matter, is, that it has been intimated to me that Colonel 
Broadhead is meditating a similar expedition. I wished, there- 
fore, to make you acquainted with what we had in contempla- 
tion. The enterprising arid energetic genius of Clarke is not al- 


together unknown to you. You also know (what I am a stran- 
ger to) the abilities of Broadhead, and the particular force with 
which you will be able to arm him for such an expedition. We 
wish the most hopeful means should be used for removing so 
uneasy a thorn from our side. As yourself, alone, are acquainted 
with all the circumstances necessary for well-informed decision, 
I am to ask the favor of your Excellency, if you should think 
Broadhead's undertaking it most likely to produce success, that 
you will be so kind as to intimate to us to divert Clarke to the 
other object, which is also important to this State. It will, of 
course, have weight with you, in forming your determination, 
that our prospect of strengthening Clarke's hands, sufficiently, is 
not absolutely certain. It may be necessary, perhaps, to inform 
you, that these two officers cannot act together, which excludes 
the hopes of ensuring success by a joint expedition. 

I have the honor to be, with the most sincere esteem, your 
Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, May 3, 1780. 

SIR, Your several favors of December 4th, February 10th, and 
March 30th, are come duly to hand. I sincerely condole with 
Madame de Riedesel on the birth of a daughter, but receive 
great pleasure from the information of her recovery, as every cir- 
cumstance of felicity to her, yourself or family, is interesting to 
us. The little attentions you are pleased to magnify so much, 

[* General de Riedesel, who commanded the Hessian troops, was among tlic prison- 
era removed to Albetnarle, in 1779, after the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga. 
Mr. Jefferson did everything in his power to render the situation of these prisoners 
comfortable, and the educated and refined officers were often his guests. Among the 
number was General de Riedesel, who seems to have entertained a grateful sense of 
the kindness extended to him. The example of Mr. Jefferson was followed by most 
of the wealthy gentlemen of the surrounding country ; the officers, both English and 
German, have borne testimony to the polite and hospitable attentions which they 
received in Virginia ] ED. 


never deserved a mention or thought. My mortification was, 
that the peculiar situation in which we were, put it out of our power 
to render your stay here more comfortable. I am sorry to learn 
that the negotiations for the exchange of prisoners have proved 
abortive, as well from a desire to see the necessary distresses of 
war alleviated in every possible instance, as that I am sensible 
how far yourself and family are interested in it. Against this, 
however, is to be weighed the possibility that we may again have 
a pleasure we should otherwise, perhaps, never have had ; that 
of seeing you again. Be this as it may, opposed as we happen 
to be in our sentiments of duty and honor, and anxious for con- 
trary events, I shall, nevertheless, sincerely rejoice in every cir- 
cumstance of happiness or safety, which may attend you per- 
sonally ; and when a termination of the present contest shall 
put it in my power to declare to you more unreservedly, how 
sincere are the sentiments of esteem and respect (wherein Mrs. 
Jefferson joins me) which I entertain for Madame de Riedesel 
and yourself, and with which I am, Sir, 

Your most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, June 11, 1780 

SIR, Major Galvan, as recommended by your Excellency, was 
dispatched to his station without delay, and has been furnished 
with everything he desired, as far as we were able. The line 
of expresses formed between us, is such as will communicate in- 
telligence from one to the other in twenty-three hours. I have 
forwarded to him information of our disasters in the South, as 
they have come to me. 

Our intelligence from the southward is most lamentably de- 
fective. Though Charleston has been in the hands of the enemy 
a month, we hear nothing of their movements which can be re- 
lied on. Rumors are, that they are penetrating northward. To 
VOL. i. 16 


remedy this defect, I shall immediately establish a line of ex- 
presses from hence to the neighborhood of their army, and send 
thither a sensible, judicious person, to give us information of their 
movements. This intelligence will, I hope, be conveyed to us 
at the rate of one hundred and twenty miles in the twenty-four 
hours. They set out to their stations to-morrow. I wish it 
were possible, that a like speedy line of communication could 
be formed from hence to your Excellency's head-quarters. Per- 
fect and speedy information of what is passing in the South, 
might put it in your power, perhaps, to frame your measures by 
theirs. There is really nothing to oppose the progress of the 
enemy, northward, but the cautious principles of the military art. 
North Carolina is without arms. We do not abound. Those 
we have, are freely imparted to them, but such is the state of 
their resources, that they have not been able to move a single 
musket from this State to theirs. All the wagons we can collect, 
have been furnished to the Marquis de Kalb, and are assembled 
for the march of twenty-five hundred men, under General 
Stevens, of Culpeper, who will move on the 10th instant. I 
have written to Congress to hasten supplies of arms and military 
stores for the Southern States, and particularly to aid us with 
cartridge-paper and boxes, the want of which articles, small as 
they are, renders our stores useless. The want of money cramps 
every effort. This will be supplied by the most unpalatable of 
all substitutes, force. Your Excellency will readily conceive, 
that, after tne loss of one army, our eyes are turned towards the 
other, and that we comfort ourselves, if any aids can be fur- 
nished by you, without defeating the operations more beneficial 
to the general union, they will be furnished. At the same time, 
I am happy to find that the wishes of the people go no further, 
as far as I have an opportunity of learning their sentiments. 
Could arms be furnished, I think this State and North Carolina 
would embody from ten to fifteen thousand militia, immediately, 
and more if necessary. 

I hope, ere long, to be able to give you a more certain state- 
ment of the enemy's as well as our situation, which I shall not 


fail to do. I enclose you a letter from Major Galvan, being the 
second I have forwarded to you. 

With sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, I 
have the honor to be your Excellency's 

Most obedient humble servant. 


RICHMOND, July 2, I 1 ? 80. 

SIR, I have received from the Committee of Congress, at 
head-quarters, three letters calling for aids of men and provis- 
ions. I beg leave to refer you to my letter to them, of this 
date, on those subjects. I thought it necessary, however, to 
suggest to you the preparing an arrangement of officers for the 
men ; for, though they are to supply our battalions, yet, as our 
whole line officers, almost, are in captivity, I suppose some 
temporary provision must be made. We cheerfully transfer to 
you every power which the Executive might exercise on this 
occasion. As it is possible you may cast your eye on the un- 
employed officers now within the State, I write to General 
Muhlenburg, to send you a return of them. I think the men 
will be rendezvoused within the present month. The bill, in- 
deed, for raising them is not actually passed, but it is in its last 
stage, and no opposition to any essential parts of it. I will take 
care to notify you of its passage. 

I have, with great pain, perceived your situation ; and, the 
more so, as, being situated between two fires, a division of sen- 
timent has arisen, both in Congress and here, as to which the 
resources of this country should be sent. The removal of Gen- 
eral Clinton to the northward, must, of course, have great in- 
fluence on the determination of this question ; and I have no 
doubt but considerable aids may be drawn hence, for your army, 
unless a larger one should be embodied in the South, than the 
force of the enemy there seems to call for. I have the honor 


to be, with every sentiment of respect and esteem, your Excel- 

Most obedient humble servant.* 


RICHMOND, August 4, 1780. 

SIR, Your several favors of July the 16th, 21st, and 22d, 
are now before me. Our smiths are engaged in making five 
hundred axes and some tomahawks for General Gates. About 
one hundred of these will go by the wagons now taking in their 
loads. As these are for the army in general, no doubt but you 
will participate of them. A chest of medicine was made up for 
you in Williamsburg, and by a strange kind of forgetfulness, 
the vessel ordered to bring that, left it and brought the rest of the 
shop. It is sent for again, and I am not without hopes will be 
here in time to go by the present wagons. They will carry 
some ammunition and the axes, and will make up their load 
with spirits. Tents, I fear, cannot be got in this country ; we 
have, however, sent out powers to all the trading towns here, to 

* [The following memorandum is inserted in the MS. at the close of this letter.] 


Mrs. Sarah Gary, of Scotchtown, a watch-chain, cost 7 sterling. 

Mrs. Ambler, five gold rings. 

Mrs. Rebecca Ambler, three gold rings. 

Mrs. Nicholas, a diamond drop. 

Mrs. Griffin, of Dover, ten half joes. 

Mrs. Gilmer, five guineas. 

Mrs. Anne Ramsay (for Fairfax), one half joe, three guineas, three pistereens, one bit. 

Do. for do. paper money, bundle No. 1, twenty thousand dollars, No. 2, twenty -seven 
thousand dollars, No. 3, fifteen thousand dollars, No. 4, thirteen thousand five hun- 
dred and eighteen dollars and one-third. 

Mrs. Lewis (for Albermarle), 1559 8s. paper money. 

Mrs. Weldon, 39 18s. new, instead of 1600, old paper money. 

Mrs. Blackburn (for Prince William), seven thousand five hundred and six dollars, 
paper money. 

Mrs. Randolph, the younger, of Chatsworth, eight hundred dollars. 

Mrs. Fitzhugh and others, 558. 


take it wherever they can find it. I write to General Gates, to 
try whether the duck in North Carolina cannot be procured by 
the Executive of that State on Continental account ; for, surely, 
the whole army, as well our militia as the rest, is Continental 
The arms you have to spare may be delivered to General 
Gates's order, taking and furnishing us with proper vouchers. 
We shall endeavor to send our drafts armed. I cannot con- 
ceive how the arms before sent could have got into so very bad 
order ; they certainly went from hence in good condition. You 
wish to know how far the property of this State, in your hands, 
is meant to be subject to the orders of the Commander-in- 
chief. Arms and military stores, we mean to be perfectly sub- 
ject to him. The provisions going from this country will be 
for the whole army. If we can get any tents, they must be ap- 
propriated to the use of our own troops. Medicine, sick stores, 
spirits and such things, we expect shall be on the same footing 
as with the northern army. There, you know, each State fur- 
nishes its own troops with these articles, and, of course, has an 
exclusive right to what is furnished. The money put into your 
hands, was meant as a particular resource for any extra wants 
of our own troops, yet, in case of great distress, you would prob- 
ably not see the others suffer without communicating part of it 
for their use. We debit Congress with this whole sum. There 
can be nothing but what is right in your paying Major Mazaret's 
troops out of it. I wish the plan you have adopted for securing 
a return of the arms from the militia, may answer. I apprehend 
any man who has a good gun on his shoulder, would agree to 
keep it, and have the worth of it deducted out of his pay, more 
especially, when the receipt of the pay is at some distance. 
What would you think of notifying to them, further, that a 
proper certificate that they are discharged, and have returned 
their arms, will be required before any pay is issued to them. 
A roll, kept and forwarded, of those so discharged, and who 
have delivered up their arms, would supply accidental losses 
of their certificates. We are endeavoring to get bayonet belts 
made. The State quarter-master affirms the cartouch boxes 


sent from this place (nine hundred and fifty-nine in number), 
were all in good condition. I therefore suppose the three hun- 
dred you received in such very bad order, must have gone from 
the Continental quarter-master at Petersburg, or, perhaps, have 
been pillaged, on the road, of their flaps, to mend shoes, &c. I 
must still press the return of as many wagons as possible. All 
you will send, shall be loaded with spirits, or something else for 
the army. By their next return, we shall have a good deal of 
bacon collected. The enclosed is a copy of what was reported 
to me, as heretofore sent by the wagons. I am, Sir, with the 
greatest esteem, 

Your most obedient humble servant. 


RICHMOND, August 4, 1780. 

SIR, Your several favors of July 19, 21, and 22, are now be- 
fore me. I have enquired into the state of the cartouch boxes 
which were sent from our magazine. The Quartermaster as- 
sures me they were in very good order. I must, therefore, con- 
clude, that the 300 complained of by General Stevens, were 
some sent from Petersburg by the Continental Quartermaster, or 
that they were pillaged of the leather on the way, to mend shoes, 
&c. We had hopes of getting 2,000 from the Board of War, 
but we got only about 600, and they are said to be unfit for use. 
We are engaged in making bayonet belts, which shall be for- 
warded, but it is extremely difficult to procure leather. The 
consumption of beef by your army will, I hope, remove the 
want of this article another year. 1 have ordered the 500 axes 
you desired, with some tomahawks, to be made. They turn 
out about 20 a day. About 100 will go on by the wagons Gen- 

[* This letter has no direction, but was probably addressed to General Gates, then 
.Commanding the Southern army. It was written by Mr. Jefferson in his character 
of Governor of Virginia, to which office he was elected on the 1st of June, 1779. 


eral Stevens sent us, which are now loading at this place. 
These wagons will carry some ammunition and spirit. A vessel 
with about 3,000 stand of arms, coming down the bay for the 
use of your army, was driven by privateers into Wicomico. We 
are endeavoring to get them forwarded either by land or water. 
The want of wagons will greatly retard them. What is to be 
done for tents, I know not. I am assured that very little duck 
can be got in this country. Whatever there is, however, will 
be produced under a commission gone out for that purpose. 
The duck you speak of as being in North Carolina, cannot be 
procured by that State, on Continental account, for the use of 
the army. I communicated your orders to Colonel Finnic, and 
to Colonel Buford, and have directed proper applications for the 
repairs of the bridges, &c., you mention. Arms are ready for 
Buford's, Davies's, and Gibson's men. Gibson's men are clothed, 
and wait only to be paid, which will be done within the course 
of a week. Clothing has been issued some time for the others, 
which is making up under the superintendence of Colonel 
Davies. They are utterly destitute of blankets, and I fear we 
shall be unable to get any. Brent's infantry are but 30, and 
cannot be sent on without bringing on disagreeable disputes 
about rank between his officers and Gibson's. To silence these, 
the march of his men has been countermanded. Colonel Finnic 
informs me, that Major Lee's infantry has been sent back by 
special orders. We have ordered 243 horses to be purchased for 
Colonels White and Washington. The orders to Mr. Lewis to 
purchase beef in Carolina were given by the Continental Com- 
missary, so long ago as last winter, when it was not foreseen 
there would be such a call for it in that country. Having no 
other means of conveying a letter to him, I take the liberty of 
putting one under cover to you, with instructions to him to dis- 
continue his purchases in North Carolina, and to furnish you 
with so much of the beef he has, as you may think necessary. 
It would be expedient for you to leave in his hands whatever 
quantity is not absolutely necessary for your army ; as, depend- 
ing on that, no other provision has been made for the post at 


Charlottesville, and you know our country so well as to foresee 
that a port, at which 5,000 rations a day are issued, cannot be 
fed by the purchase of the day. 

We have reason to believe the French fleet arrived at New- 
port the 10th ult., but it is not certain. Admiral Graves, with 
six sail of the line, is certainly arrived at New York. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, Sir, 

Your most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, August 15, 1780. 

SIR, Your favor of August the 3d, is just now put into my 
hand. Those formerly received have been duly answered, and 
my replies will, no doubt, have reached you before this date. 
My last letter to you was by Colonel Drayton. 

I spoke fully with you on the difficulty of procuring wagons 
here, when I had the pleasure of seeing you, and for that reason 
pressed the sending back as many as possible. One brigade of 
twelve has since returned, and is again on its way with medi- 
cine, military stores, and spirit. Any others which come, and 
as fast as they come, shall be returned to you with spirit and 
bacon. I have ever been informed, that the very plentiful har- 
vests of North Carolina, would render the transportation of flour 
from this State as unnecessary as it would be tedious, and that, 
in this point of view, the wagons should carry hence only the 
articles before mentioned, which are equally wanting with you. 
Finding that no great number of wagons is likely to return to 
us, we will immediately order as many more to be bought and 
sent on, as we possibly can. But, to prevent too great expecta- 
tions, I must again repeat, that I fear no great number can be 
got. I do assure you, however, that neither attention nor ex- 
pense shall be spared, to forward to you every support for which 
we can obtain means of transportation. You have, probably, 


received our order on Colonel Lewis, to deliver you any of the 
beeves he may have purchased. 

Tents, I fear, it is in vain to expect, because there is not in 
this country stuff to make them. We have agents and commis- 
sioners in constant pursuit of stuff, but hitherto researches have 
been fruitless. Your order to Colonel Carrington shall be im- 
mediately communicated. A hundred copies of the proclama- 
tion shall also be immediately printed and forwarded to you. 
General Muhlenburg is come to this place, which he will now 
make his head-quarters. I think he will be able to set into mo- 
tion, within a very few days, five hundred regulars, who are 
now equipped for their march, except some blankets still want- 
ing, but I hope nearly procured and ready to be delivered. 

I sincerely congratulate you on your successful advances on the 
enemy, and wish to do everything to second your enterprises, 
which the situation of this country, and the means and powers 
put into my hands, enable me to do. 

I am, Sir, with sincere respect and esteem, 

Your most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, September 3, 1780. 

SIR, As I know the anxieties you must have felt, since the 
late misfortune to the South, and our latter accounts have not 
been quite so favorable as the first, I take the liberty of enclosing 
you a statement of this unlucky affair, taken from letters from 
General Gates, General Stevens, and Governor Nash, and, as to 
some circumstances, from an officer who was in the action.* 
Another army is collecting ; this amounted, on the 23d ultimo, to 
between four and five thousand men, consisting of about five 
hundred Maryland regulars, a few of Hamilton's artillery, and 

[* The circumstances of the defeat of General Gates's army, near Camden, in 
August, 1780, being of historical notoriety, this statement is omitted.] 


Portersfield corps, Armand's legion, such of the Virginia militia 
as had been reclaimed, and about three thousand North Carolina 
militia, newly embodied. We are told they will increase these 
to eight thousand. Our new recruits will rendezvous in this 
State between the 10th and 25th instant. We are calling out 
two thousand militia, who, I think, however, will not be got to 
Hillsborough till the 25th of October. About three hundred 
and fifty regulars marched from Chesterfield a week ago. Fifty 
march to-morrow, and there will be one hundred or one hundred 
and fifty more from that post, when they can be cleared of the 
hospital. This is as good a view as I can give you of the 
force we are endeavoring to collect ; but they are unarmed. 
Almost the whole small arms seems to have been lost in the late 
rout. There are here, on their way southward, three thousand 
stand of arms, sent by Congress, and we have still a few in our 
magazine. I have written pressingly, as the subject \vell de- 
serves, to Congress, to send immediate supplies, and to think of 
forming a magazine here, that in case of another disaster, we 
may not be left without all means of opposition. 

I enclosed to your Excellency, some time ago, a resolution of 
the Assembly, instructing us to send a quantity of tobacco to 
New York for the relief of our officers there, and asking the 
favor of you to obtain permission. Having received no an- 
swer, I fear my letter or your answer has miscarried. I therefore 
take the liberty of repeating my application to you. 

I have the honor to be, with the most profound respect, your 
Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, September 3, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, I sincerely condole with you on our late misfor- 
tune,* which sits the heavier on my mind as being produced by 

[* Battle of Camden, August 16th, 1780.] 


my own countrymen. Instead of considering what is past, how- 
ever, we are to look forward and prepare for the future. I write 
General Gates and Governor Nash as to supplies and reinforce- 
ments. Another body of 2,000 militia are ordered to you to ren- 
dezvous at Hillsborough, on the 25th of October. They come 
from the middle and north counties, beyond and adjoining the 
Blue Ridge. I am told, also, that a spirit of raising volunteers is 
springing up. The truth of this, however, is not certainly known, 
nor can its success be depended on. Governor Nash writes me 
that 400 wagons were- lost. An officer here, however, thinks 
they are not. This, indeed, would be a heavy loss, as well as 
that of the small arms. We shall exert every nerve to assist you 
in every way in our power, being, as we are, without any money 
in the Treasury, or any prospect of more till the Assembly meets 
in October. 

I am with great esteem your most obedient and most humble 


RICHMOND, September 11, 1780. 

DEAR SIR, Your bill for 54,712 in favor of Mallette, has 
been duly honored, that for 95,288 we shall also discharge ; 
another bill (which being delivered back to be presented at the 
end of the ten days, I cannot recollect either the name of the 
holder or the sum) has been accepted. We are now without 
one shilling in the treasury, or a possibility of having it recruited 
till the meeting of the Assembly, which takes place on the loth 
of the next month. In this condition Mr. Duncan Ochiltree 
found us when he delivered your letter of the 5th instant, and 
draught for 100,000 in favor of Col. Polk. The only thing in 
our power, after stating to him our situation, was to assure him 
that it should be paid as soon as we should be enabled to do it 
by the Assembly, which I flatter myself will be as soon as they 


meet. Of this I am to notify him, that he may know when to 
call for payment. I shall he very glad if you can accommodate, 
to the same circumstances, any other draughts you may find it 
necessary to make on me. 

We have sent a Mr. Paton, Commissary for the State, to collect 
beeves in our southern counties, and forward them to your army. 
He has orders to keep up a proper correspondence with your 

I have the honor to be with the greatest esteem and respect, 
Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, September 12, 1780. 

SIR, Your letters of August 27th and 30th are now before 
me. The subsequent desertions of your militia have taken away 
the necessity of answering the question, How they shall be 
armed ? On the contrary, as there must now be a surplus of 
arms, I am in hopes you will endeavor to reserve them, as we 
have not here a sufficient number by fifteen hundred or two thou- 
sand for the men who will march hence, if they march in num- 
bers equal to our expectations. I have sent expresses into all 
the counties from which those militia went, requiring the county 
lieutenants to exert themselves in taking them ; and such is the 
detestation with which they have been received, that I have 
heard from many counties they were going back of themselves. 
You will, of course, hold courts martial on them, and make them 
soldiers for eight months. If you will be so good as to inform 
me, from time to time, how many you have, we may, perhaps, 
get the supernumerary officers in the State to take command of 
them. By the same opportunities, I desired notice to be given 
to the friends of the few remaining with you, that they had lost 
their clothes and blankets, and recommended that they should 
avail themselves of any good opportunity to send them supplies. 


We approve of your accommodating the hospital with medicines, 
and the Maryland troops with spirits. They really deserve the 
whole, and I wish we had means of transportation for much greater 
quantities, which we have on hand and cannot convey. This arti- 
cle we could furnish plentifully to you and them. What is to be 
done for wagons, I do not know. We have not now one shilling 
in the treasury to purchase them. We have ordered an active 
quarter-master to go to the westward, and endeavor to purchase 
on credit, or impress a hundred wagons and teams. But I really 
see no prospect of sending you additional supplies, till the same 
wagons return from you, which we sent on with the last. I in- 
formed you, in my last letter, we had ordered two thousand militia 
more, to rendezvous at Hillsborough on the 25th of October. You 
will judge yourself, whether, in the meantime, you can be more 
useful by remaining where you are, with the few militia left and 
coming in, or by returning home, where, besides again accom- 
modating yourself after your losses, you may also aid us in get- 
ting those men into motion, and in pointing out such things as 
are within our power, and may be useful to the service. And 
you will act accordingly. I am, with great friendship and esteem, 
dear Sir, 

Your most obedient, humble servant. 


RICHMOND, Sept. 15th, 1780. 

SIR, I beg leave to trouble you with a private letter, on a little 
matter of my own, having no acquaintance at camp, with whom I 
can take that liberty. Among the wagons impressed, for the use of 
your militia, were two of mine. One of these, I know is safe, hav- 
ing been on its way from hence to Hillsborough, at the time of the 
late engagement. The other, I have reason to believe, was on 
the field. A wagon master, who says he was near it, informs me 
the brigade quarter-master cut out one of my best horses, and 


made his escape on him, and that he saw my wagoner loosening 
his own horse to come off, but the enemy's horse were then com- 
ing up, and he knows nothing further. He was a negro man, 
named Phill, lame in one arm and leg. If you will do me the 
favor to enquire what has become of him, what horses are saved, 
and to send them to me, I shall be much obliged to you. The 
horses were not public property, as they were only impressed and 
not sold. Perhaps your certificate of what is lost, may be neces- 
sary for me. The wagon master told me, that the public money 
was in my wagon, a circumstance which, perhaps, may aid your 
enquiries. After apologising for the trouble, I beg leave to as- 
sure you that I am, with great sincerity, 

Your friend and servant. 


RICHMOND, September 23, 1780. 

SIR, I have empowered Colonel Carrington to have twelve 
boats, scows or batteaux, built at Taylor's Ferry, and to draw on me 
for the cost. I recommended the constructing them so as to answer 
the transportation of provisions along that river, as a change of po- 
sition of the two armies, may render them unnecessary at Taylor's 
ferry ; and I am thoroughly persuaded, that, unless we can find 
out some channel of transportation by water, no supplies of bread, 
of any consequence, can be sent you from this State for a long 
time to come. The want of wagons is a bar insuperable, at least, 
in any reasonable time. I have given orders to have Fry and 
Jefferson's map, and Henry's map of Virginia, sought for and 
purchased. As soon as they can be got, I will forward them. I 
have also written to General Washington on the subject of win- 
tering the French fleet in the Chesapeake. Oar new levies rendez- 
vous in large numbers. As General Washington had constituted 
them into eight battalions, and allotted none to Colonel Harrison, 
we think to deliver him about four hundred drafts of another kind, 


who are to serve eighteen months also. Unless Congress furnish 
small arms, we cannot arm more than half the men who will go 
from this State. The prize you mention of tents and blankets is 
very fortunate. It is absolutely out of our power to get these 
articles, to any amount, in this country, nor have we clothing for 
our new levies. They must, therefore, go to you clothed as 
militia, till we can procure and send on supplies. They will be 
as warm in their present clothing at Hillsborough, as at Ches- 
terfield Court House. 

We have an agent, collecting all the beeves which can be got 
from the counties round about Portsmouth, to send off to you. 
They have there also plentiful crops of corn growing. We have 
instructed him to try whether means of conveying it down into 
the Sounds, and up some of the- rivers of North Carolina, or by 
land to Meherrin river, and thence down Chowan, and up Ro- 
anoke, cannot be rendered practicable. 

I am, with every sentiment of esteem and respect, your most 
obedient and most humble servant. 

P. S. I enclose a certificate, acknowledging satisfaction for 
the money furnished by Colonel Kosciusko. 


RICHMOND, September 23, 1780. 

SIR, I yesterday forwarded to you a letter from Colonel 
Wood, informing you of his situation. That post has, for some 
time past, been pretty regularly supplied, and I hope will con- 
tinue to be for some time to come. A person, whose punctuality 
can be relied on, offers to contract for victualling it. If we can 
agree on terms, and the Assembly will strengthen our hands suf- 
ficiently, we think to adopt that method, as the only one to be 
relied on with certainty. I have heard it hinted that Colonel 
Wood thinks of quitting that post. I should be exceedingly 


sorry, indeed, were he to do it. He has given to those under 
his charge the most perfect satisfaction, and, at the same time, 
used all the cautions which the nature of his charge has re- 
quired. It is principally owing to his prudence and good tem- 
per, that the late difficulties have been passed over, almost 
without a murmur. Any influence which your Excellency 
shall think proper to use, for retaining him in his present situ- 
ation, will promote the public good, and have a great tendency 
to keep up a desirable harmony with the officers of that corps. 
Our new recruits are rendezvousing very generally. Colonel 
Harrison was uneasy at having none of them assigned to his 
corps of artillery, who have very much distinguished themselves 
in the late unfortunate action, and are reduced almost to no- 
thing. We happened to have about four hundred drafts, raised 
in the last year, and never called out and sent on duty by their 
county lieutenants, whom we have collected and are collecting. 
We think to deliver these to Colonel Harrison : they are to serve 
eighteen months from the time of rendezvous. The numbers 
of regulars and militia ordered from this State into the southern 
service, are about seven thousand. I trust we may count that 
fifty-five hundred will actually proceed ; but we have arms for 
three thousand only. If, therefore, we do not speedily receive a 
supply from Congress, we must countermand a proper number of 
these troops. Besides this supply, there should certainly be a 
magazine laid in here, to provide against a general loss as well 
as daily waste. When we deliver out those now in our maga- 
zine, we shall have sent seven thousand stand of our own 
into the southern service, in the course of this summer. We 
.are still more destitute of clothing, tents and wagons for our 
troops. The southern army suffers for provisions, which we 
could plentifully supply, were it possible to find means of trans- 
portation. Despairing of this, we directed very considerable 
quantities, collected on the navigable waters, to be sent north- 
wardly by the quarter-master. This he is now doing ; slowly, 
however. Unapprised what may be proposed by our allies, to 
be done with their fleet in the course of the ensuing winter, 1 


would beg leave to intimate to you, that if it should appear to 
.hem eligible that it should winter in the Chesapeake, they can 
be well supplied with provisions, taking their necessary measures 
in due time. The waters communicating with that bay furnish 
easy, and (in that case) safe transportation, and their money 
will call forth what is denied to ours. 

I am, with all possible esteem and respect, your Excellency's 
most obedient and humble servant. 


RICHMOND, September 26, 1780. 

Sm, The enclosed copy of a letter from Lord Cornwallis* 
to Colonel Balfour, was sent me by Governor Rutledge : lest 
you should not have seen it, I do myself the pleasure of trans- 
mitting it, with a letter from General Harrington to General 
Gates giving information of some late movements of the enemy. 


I have the happiness to inform you, that on Wednesday the 16th instant, I to- 
tally defeated General Gates's army. One thousand were killed and wounded, about 
eight hundred taken prisoners. We are in possession of eight pieces of brass cannon, 
all they had in the field, all their ammunition wagons, a great number of arms, and 
one hundred and thirty baggage wagons : in short, there never was a more complete 
victory. I have written to Lieutenant Colonel Turnbull, whom I sent to join Major 
Johnson on Little river, to push on after General Sumpter to the Waxhaws, whose 
detachment is the only collected force of rebels in all this country. Colonel Tarlton 
is in pursuit of Sumpter. Our loss is about three hundred killed and wound, chiefly 
of the thirty-third regiment and volunteers, of Ireland. I have given orders that 
all the inhabitants of this province, who have subscribed and taken part in this re- 
volt, should be punished with the greatest rigor ; also, that those who will not turn 
out, may be imprisoned, and their whole property taken from them, and destroyed. 
I have also ordered that satisfaction should be made for their estates, to those who 
have been injured and oppressed by them. I have ordered, in the most positive man- 
ner, that every militia man who has borne arms with us and afterwards joined the 
enemy, shall be immediately hanged. I desire you will take the most rigorous meas- 
ures to punish the rebels in the district in which you command, and that you will 
obey, in the strictest manner, the directions I have given in this letter, relative to the 
inhabitants of this -country. COENWALLIS. 

August, 1780. 
VOL. I. 1^ 


I was honored yesterday with your favor of the 5th instant, 
on the subject of prisoners, and particularly Lieutenant Governor 
Hamilton. You are not unapprised of the influence of this 
officer with the Indians, his activity and embittered zeal against 
us. You also, perhaps, know how precarious is our tenure of 
the Illinois country, and how critical is the situation of the new 
counties on the Ohio. These circumstances determined us to 
detain Governor Hamilton and Major Hay within our power, 
when we delivered up the other prisoners. On a late represen- 
tation from the people of Kentucky, by a person sent here from 
that country, and expressions of what they had reason to appre- 
hend from these two prisoners, in the event of their liberation, 
we assured them they would not be parted with, though we 
were giving up our other prisoners. Lieutenant Colonel Dabus- 
son, aid to Baron de Kalb, lately came here on his parole, with 
an offer from Lord Rawdon, to exchange him for Hamilton. 
Colonel Towles is now here with a like proposition for himself, 
from General Phillips, very strongly urged by the General. 
These, and other overtures, do not lessen our opinion of the im- 
portance of retaining him ; and they have been, and will be, 
uniformly rejected. Should the settlement, indeed, of a cartel 
become impracticable, without the consent of the States to sub- 
mit their separate prisoners to its obligation, we will give up 
these two prisoners, as we would anything, rather than be an 
obstacle to a general good. But no other circumstance would, 
I believe, extract them from us. These two gentlemen, with a 
Lieutenant Colonel Elligood, are the only separate prisoners we 
have retained, and the last, only on his own request, and not 
because we set any store by him. There is, indeed, a Lieuten- 
ant Governor Rocheblawe of Kaskaskie, who has broken his 
parole, and gone to New York, whom we must shortly trouble 
your Excellency to demand for us, as soon as we can forward 
to you the proper documents. Since the forty prisoners sent to 
Winchester, as mentioned in my letter of the 9th ultimo, about 
one hundred and fifty more have been sent thither, some of 
them taken by us at sea, others sent on by General Gates. 


The exposed and weak state of our western settlements, and 
the danger to which they are subject from the northern Indians, 
acting under the influence of the British post at Detroit, render 
it necessary for us to keep from five to eight hundred men on 
duty, for their defence. This is a great and perpetual expense. 
Could that post be reduced and retained, it would cover all the 
States to the southeast of it. We have long meditated the at- 
tempt under the direction of Colonel Clarke, but the expense 
would be so great, that whenever we have wished to take it up, 
the circumstance has obliged us to decline it. Two different 
estimates make it amount to two millions of pounds, present 
money. We could furnish the men, provisions, and every neces- 
sary, except powder, had we the money, or could the demand 
from us be so far supplied from other quarters, as to leave it in 
our power to apply such a sum to that purpose ; and, when 
once done, it would save annual expenditures to a great amount. 
When I speak of furnishing the men, I mean they should be 
militia, such being the popularity of Colonel Clarke, and the 
confidence of the western people in him, that he could raise the 
requisite number at any time. We, therefore, beg leave to refer 
this matter to yourself, to determine whether such an enterprise 
would not be for the general good, and if you think it would, 
to authorize it at the general expense. This is become the more 
reasonable, if, as I understand, the ratification of the Confedera- 
tion has been rested on our cession of a part of our western 
claim ; a cession which (speaking my private opinion) I verily 
believe will be agreed to, if the quantity demanded is not un- 
reasonably great. Should this proposition be approved of, it 
should be immediately made known to us, as the season is now 
coming on, at which some of the preparations must be made. 
The time of execution, I think, should be at the time of the 
breaking up of the ice in the Wabash, and before the lakes 
open. The interval, I am told, is considerable. 

I have the honor to be, &c., your most obedient and humble 



RICHMOND, October 4, 1780. 

SIR, My letter of September 23d, answered your favors re 
ceived before that date, and the present serves to acknowledge 
the receipt of those of September 24th arid 27th. I retain in 
mind, and recur, almost daily, to your requisitions of August ; 
we have, as yet, no prospect of more than one hundred tents. 
Flour is ordered to be manufactured, as soon as the season will 
render it safe : out of which, I trust, we can furnish not only 
your requisition of August, but that of Congress of September 
llth. The corn you desire, we could furnish when the new 
crops come in, fully, if water transportation can be found ; if 
not, we shall be able only to send you what lies convenient to 
the southern boundary, in which neighborhood the crops have 
been much abridged by a flood in Roanoke. We have no rice. 
Rum and other spirits we can furnish to a greater amount than 
you require, as soon as our wagons are in readiness, and shall be 
glad to commute into that article some others which we have 
not, particularly sugar, coffee and salt. The vinegar is provided. 
Colonel Finnic promised to furnish to Colonel Muter, a list of the 
spades, hoes, &c., which could be furnished from the Continental 
stores. This list has never yet come to hand. It is believed, 
the Continental stores here will fall little short of your requisi- 
tion, except in the article of axes, which our shops are proceed- 
ing on. Your information of September 24th, as to the quality 
of the axes, has been notified to the workmen, and will, I hope, 
have a proper effect on those made hereafter. Application has 
been made to the courts, to have the bridges put in a proper 
state, which they have promised to do. We are endeavoring 
again to collect wagons. About twenty are nearly finished at 
this place. We employed, about three weeks ago, agents to pur- 
chase, in the western counties, a hundred wagons and teams. 
Till these can be got, it will be impossible to furnish anything 
from this place. I am exceedingly pleased to hear of your regu- 
lation for stopping our wagons at Roanoke. This will put it in 


our power to repair and replace them, to calculate their returns, 
provide loads, and will be a great encouragement to increase 
their number, if possible, as their departure hence will no longer 
produce the idea of a final adieu to them. 

Colonel Senf arrived here the evening before the last. He 
was employed yesterday and to-day, in copying some actual and 
accurate surveys, which we had had made of the country round 
about Portsmouth, as far as Cape Henry to the eastward, Nanse- 
mond river to the westward, the Dismal Swamp to the south- 
ward, and northwardly, the line of country from Portsmouth by 
Hampton and York, to Williamsburg, and including the vicinities 
of these three last posts. This will leave him nothing to do, 
but to take drawings of particular places, and the soundings of 
such waters as he thinks material. He will proceed on this 
business to-morrow, with a letter to General Nelson, and powers 
to call for the attendance of a proper vessel. 

I suppose, that your drafts in favor of the quarter-master, if 
attended with sixty days' grace, may be complied with to a cer- 
tain amount. We will certainly use our best endeavors to an- 
swer them. I have only to desire that they may be made pay- 
able to the quarter-master alone, and not to the bearer. This is 
to prevent the mortification of seeing an unapprised individual 
taken in by an assignment of them, as if they were ready money. 
Your letter to Colonel Finnic will go to Williamsburg immedi- 
ately. Those to Congress, with a copy of the papers enclosed 
to me, went yesterday by express. I will take order as to the 
bacon you mention. I fear there is little of it, and that not 
capable of being long kept. You are surely not uninformed, 
that Congress required the greater part of this article to be sent 
northward, which has been done. I hope, by this time, you re- 
ceive supplies of beeves from our commissary, Mr. Eaton, who 
was sent three weeks or a month ago to exhaust of that article 
the counties below, and in the neighborhood of Portsmouth ; 
and from thence, was to proceed to the other counties, in order, 
as they stood exposed to an enemy. 

The arrival of the French West India fleet (which, though 


not authentically communicated, seems supported by so many 
concurring accounts from individuals, as to leave scarcely room 
for doubt), will, I hope, prevent the enemy from carrying into 
effect the embarkation they had certainly intended from New 
York, though they are strengthened by the arrival of Admiral 
Rodney at that place, with twelve sail of the line and four 
frigates, as announced by General Washington to Congress, on 
the 19th ultimo. The accounts of the additional French fleet 
are varied, from sixteen to nineteen ships of the line, besides 
frigates. The number of the latter has never been mentioned. 
The extracts of letters, which you will see in our paper of this 
day, are from General Washington, President Huntington and 
our Delegates in Congress to me. That from Bladensburg is 
from a particular acquaintance of mine, whose credit cannot be 
doubted. The distress we are experiencing from want of leather 
to make shoes, is great. I am sure you have thought of pre- 
venting it in future, by the appointment of a commissary of 
hides, or some other good regulation for saving and tanning the 
hides, which the consumption of your army will afford. 

I have the honor to be, with all possible esteem and respect, Sir, 
your most obedient, and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, October 15, 1780. 

SIR, I am rendered not a little anxious by the paragraph of 
yours of the 7th instant, wherein you say, "It is near a month 
since I received any letter from your Excellency ; indeed, the re- 
ceipt of most that I have written to you remain unacknowledged." 
You ought, within that time, to have received my letter of Sep- 
tember the 3d, written immediately on my return to this place, 
after a fortnight's absence ; that of September the llth, acknowl- 
edging the receipt of yours which covered drafts for money ; 
that of September the 23d, on the subject of batteaux at Tay- 


lor's ferry, wagons, maps of Virginia, wintering the French 
fleet in the Chesapeake, our new levies, and provisions from our 
lower counties ; and that of October the 4th, in answer to yours 
of September the 24th. and 27th. I begin to apprehend treach- 
ery in some part of our chain of expresses, and beg the favor of 
you, in your next, to mention whether any, and which of these 
letters have come to hand. This acknowledges the receipt of 
yours of September the 28th, and October the 3d, 5th, and 7th. 
The first of these was delivered four or five days ago by Captain 
Drew. He will be permitted to return as you desire, as we 
would fulfil your wishes in every point in our power, as well as 
indulge the ardor of a good officer. Our militia from the west- 
ern counties, are now on their march to join you. They are 
fond of the kind of service in which Colonel Morgan is gener- 
ally engaged, and are made very happy by being informed you 
intend to put them under him. Such as pass by this place, take 
muskets in their hands. Those from the southern counties be- 
yond the Blue Ridge, were advised to carry their rifles. For 
those who carry neither rifles nor muskets, as well as for our 
eighteen months' men, we shall send on arms as soon as wagons 
can be procured. In the meantime, I had hoped that there were 
arms for those who should first arrive at Hillsborough, as by 
General Stevens's return, dated at his departure thence, there 
were somewhere between five and eight hundred muskets (I 
speak from memory, not having present access to the return) be- 
longing to this State, either in the hands of the few militia who 
were there, or stored. Captain Fauntleroy, of the cavalry, gives 
me hopes he shall immediately forward a very considerable sup- 
ply of accoutrements, for White's and Washington's cavalry. He 
told me yesterday, he had received one hundred and thirteen 
horses for that service, from us. Besides those, he had rejected 
sixty odd, after we had purchased them, at 30 apiece. Nel- 
son's two troops were returned to me, deficient only twelve 
horses, since which, ten have been sent to him by Lieutenant 
Armstead. I am not a little disappointed, therefore, in the num- 
ber of cavalry fit for duty, as mentioned in the letter you en- 


closed me. Your request (as stated in your letter of the 7th) 
that we will send no men into the field, or even to your camp, 
that are not well furnished with shoes, blankets, and every ne- 
cessary for immediate service, would amount to a stoppage of 
every man ; as we have it not in our power to furnish them 
with real necessaries completely. I hope they will be all shod. 
What proportion will have blankets, I cannot say : we purchase 
every one which can be found out ; and now I begin to have a 
prospect of furnishing about half of them with tents, as soon as 
they can be made and forwarded. As to provisions, our agent, 
Eaton, of whom I before wrote, informs me in a letter of the 
5th instant, he shall immediately get supplies of beef into mo- 
tion, and shall send some corn by a circuitous navigation. But 
till we receive our wagons from the western country, I cannot 
hope to aid you in bread. I expect daily to see wagons coming 
in to us. The militia were ordered to rendezvous at Hillsbo- 
rough, expecting they would thence be ordered by you into ser- 
vice. I send you herewith, a copy of Henry's map of Virginia. 
It is a mere cento of blunders. It may serve to give you a gen- 
eral idea of the courses of rivers, and positions of counties. 
We are endeavoring to get you a copy of Fry and Jefferson's ; 
but they are now very scarce. I also enclose you some news- 
papers, in which you will find a detail of Arnold's apostasy and 

I am, with all sentiments of sincere respect and esteom, Sir, 
your most obedient and most humble servant. 

P. S. Just as I was closing my letter, yours of the 9th instant 
was put into my hands. I enclose, by this express, a power to 
Mr. Lambe, quarter-master, to impress for a month, ten wagons 
from each of the counties of Brunswick, Mecklenburg, Lunen- 
burg, Charlotte, and Halifax, and direct him to take your orders, 
whether they shall go first to you, or come here. If the latter, 
we can load them with arms and spirits. Before their month is 
out, I hope the hundred wagons from the westward will have 


come in. We will otherwise provide a relief for these. I am 
perfectly astonished at your not having yet received my letters 
before mentioned. I send you a copy of that of the 4th of 
October, as being most material. I learn from one of General 
Muhlenburg's family, that five wagons have set out from hence, 
with three hundred stand of arms, &c. However, the General 
writes to you himself. 


RICHMOND, October 22, 1780. 

SIR, I have this morning received certain information of the 
arrival of a hostile fleet in our bay, of about sixty sail. The 
debarkation of some light horse, in the neighborhood of Ports- 
mouth, seems to indicate that as the first scene of action. We 
are endeavoring to collect as large a body to oppose them as we 
can arm ; this will be lamentably inadequate, if the enemy be 
in any force. It is mortifying to suppose that a people, able 
and zealous to contend with their enemy, should be reduced to 
fold their arms for want of the means of defence. Yet no re- 
sources, that we know of, insure us against this event. It has 
become necessary to divert to this new object, a considerable 
part of the aids we had destined for General Gates. We are 
still, however, sensible of the necessity of supporting him, and 
have left that part of the country nearest him uncalled on, at 
present, that they may reinforce him as soon as arms can be re- 
ceived. We have called to the command of our forces Generals 
Weeden and Muhlenburg, of the line, and Nelson and Stevens 
of the militia. You will be pleased to make to these such ad- 
ditions as you may think proper. As to the aids of men, I ask 
for none, knowing that if the late detachment of the enemy 
shall have left it safe for you to spare aids of that kind, you 
will not await my application. Of the troops we shall raise, 
there is not a single man who ever saw the face of an enemy. 
Whether the Convention troops will be removed or not, is yet 


undetermined. This must depend on the force of the enemy, 
and the aspect of their movements. 

I have the honor to be your Excellency's most obedient hum- 
ble servant. 


Ix COUNCIL, Oct. 22d, 1780. 

SIR, The letters which accompany this will inform you of 
the arrival of a large fleet of the enemy within our capes, and 
that they have begun their debarkation.* We are taking meas- 
ures to collect a body to oppose them, for which purpose it seems 
necessary to retain such regulars, volunteers and militia as have 
not yet gone on to you. We have left the counties of Lunen- 
burg, Mecklenburg, Halifax, and all above them on the south 
side of James river, uncalled on, that they may be in readiness to 
reinforce you as soon as arms can be procured. I am in hopes 
the eighteen months' men and western militia, who will have 
joined you with the volunteers from Washington and Montgom- 
ery, as proposed by Col. Preston, and the eighteen months' militia, 
will be a useful reinforcement to you, and shall continue to divide 
our attention, both as to men and provisions, between the army in 
your front and that which is posting itself within our own country. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem, Sir, your 
most obedient and most humble servant. 

P. S. Col. Carrington is arrived since writing the above, and 

[* About the 22<1 of Oct. 1780, a British fleet made its appearance in the Chesa- 
peake, having on board some three thousand troops, under the command of General 
Leslie. Different detachments were landed near Portsmouth, Hampton, and on the 
bay-side of Princess Anne. The whole force was subsequently collected at Ports- 
mouth; but Leslie, probably disappointed in his expectation of forming a juncture 
with Cornwallis, suddenly re -embarked for South Carolina. On the 29th of the fol- 
lowing December, Arnold made his appearance, with twenty-seven sail of vessels, 
within the Virginian capes, and commenced his invasion. On 26th of March, 1781, 
he was superseded in his command by General Phillips, who joined him at Ports- 
mouth, with some two thousand troops. ED.] 


says you want thirty horses to move your artillery. They shall 
be immediately sent to you. 


RICHMOND, October 25, 1780. 

SIR, I take the liberty of enclosing to you letters from Gov- 
ernor Hamilton, for New York. On some representations re- 
ceived by Colonel Towles, that an indulgence to Governor 
Hamilton and his companions to go to New York, on parole, 
would produce the happiest effect on the situation of our officers 
in Long Island, we have given him, Major Hay, and some of 
the same party at Winchester, leave to go there on parole. The 
two former go by water, the latter by land. 

By this express I hand on, from General Gates to Congress, 
intelligence of the capture of Augusta, in Georgia, with consid- 
erable quantities of goods ; and information, which carries a fair 
appearance, of the taking of Georgetown, in South Carolina, by 
a party of ours, and that an army of six thousand French and 
Spaniards had landed at Sunbury. This is the more credible, as 
Cornwallis retreated from Charlotte on the 12th instant, with 
great marks of precipitation. Since my last to you, informing 
you of an enemy's fleet, they have landed eight hundred men in 
the neighborhood of Portsmouth, and some more on the bay side 
of Princess Anne. One thousand infantry landed at New-ports- 
news, on the morning of the 23d, and immediately took possess- 
ion of Hampton. The horse were proceeding up the road. 
Such a corps as Major Lee's would be of infinite service to us 
Next to a naval force, horse seems to be most capable of protect- 
ing a country so intersected by waters. 

I am, with the most sincere esteem, your Excellency's mosl 
obedient and most humble servant. 



RICHMOND, October 26, 1780. 

SIR, The Executive of this State think it expedient, under 
our present circumstances, that the prisoners of war under the 
Convention of Saratoga, be removed from their present situa- 
tion. It will be impossible, as long as they remain with us, to 
prevent the hostile army from being reinforced by numerous de- 
sertions from this corps ; and this expectation may be one among 
the probable causes of this movement of the enemy. Should, 
moreover, a rescue of them be attempted, the extensive disaffec- 
tion which has of late been discovered, and the almost total 
want of arms in the hands of our good people, render the suc- 
cess of such an enterprise by no means desperate. The fear of 
this, and the dangerous convulsions to which such an attempt 
would expose us, divert the attention of a very considerable part 
of our militia from an opposition to an invading enemy. An 
order has been, therefore, this day issued to Colonel Wood, to 
take immediate measures for their removal ; and every aid has 
been, and will be given him, for transporting, guarding, and 
subsisting them on the road, which our powers can accomplish. 
Notice hereof is sent to his Excellency Governor Lee, on whose 
part, I doubt not, necessary preparations will be made. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem and respect, 
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, October 28, 1780. 

SIR, Your letters of the 14th, 20th and 21st have come to 
hand, and your despatches to Congress have been regularly for- 
warded. I shall attend to the caveat against Mr. Ochiltree's 
bill. Your letter to Colonel Senf remains still in my hands, as 
it did not come till the enemy had taken possession of the 
ground, on which I knew him to have been, and I have since 


no certain information where a letter might surely find him. 
My proposition as to your bills in favor of the quarter-master, 
referred to yours of September 27th. I have notified to the 
Continental quarter-master, your advance of nine hundred dol- 
lars to Cooper. As yet, we have received no wagons. I wish 
Mr. Lambe may have supplied you. Should those from the 
western quarter not come in, we will authorize him or some other, 
to procure a relief, in time, for those first impressed. We are 
upon the eve of a new arrangement as to our commissary's and 
quarter-master's departments, as the want of money, introducing 
its substitute force, requires the establishment of a different kind 
of system. 

Since my first information to you of the arrival of an enemy, 
they have landed about eight hundred men near Portsmouth, 
some on the bay side of Princess Anne, one thousand at Hamp- 
ton, and still retained considerable part on board their ships. 
Those at Hampton, after committing horrid depredations, have 
again retired to their ships, which, on the evening of the 26th, 
were strung along the road from New-ports-news, to the mouth 
of Nansemond, which seems to indicate an intention of coming 
up James river. Our information is, that they have from four to 
five thousand men, commanded by General Leslie, and that they 
have come under convoy of one forty-gun ship, and some frigates 
(how many has never been said), commanded by Commodore 
Rodney. Would it not be worth while to send out a swift boat 
from some of the inlets of Carolina, to notify the French Ad- 
miral that his enemies are in a net, if he has leisure to close the 
mouth of it ? Generals Muhlenburg and Nelson are assembling 
a force to be ready for them, and General Weeden has come to 
this place, where he is at present employed in some arrange- 
ments. We have ordered the removal of the Saratoga prisoners, 
that we may have our hands clear for these new guests. 

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem and re- 
spect, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant. 



RICHMOND, November 3, 1780. 

SIR, Since I had the honor of writing to your Excellency, 
on the 25th ultimo, the enemy have withdrawn their forces from 
the North of James River, and have taken post at Portsmouth, 
which, we learn, they are fortifying. Their highest post is Suf- 
folk, where there is a very narrow and defensible pass between 
Nansemond river and the Dismal Swamp, which covers the 
country below, from being entered by us. More accurate infor- 
mation of their force, than we at first had, gives us reason to 
suppose them to be from twenty-five hundred to three thousand 
strong, of which between sixty and seventy are cavalry. They 
are commanded by General Leslie, and were convoyed by the 
Romulus, of forty guns, the Blonde, of thirty-two guns, the De- 
light sloop, of sixteen, a twenty-gun ship of John Goodwick's, 
and two row gallies, commanded by Commodore Grayton. We 
are not assured, as yet, that they have landed their whole force. 
Indeed, they give out themselves, that after drawing the force 
of this State to Suffolk, they mean to go to Baltimore. Their 
movements had induced me to think they came with an expecta- 
tion of meeting with Lord Cornwallis in this country, that his 
precipitate retreat has left them without a concerted object, and 
that they were waiting further orders. Information ' of this 
morning says, that being informed of Lord Cornwallis's retreat, 
and a public paper having been procured by them, wherein were 
printed the several despatches which brought this intelligence 
from General Gates, they unladed a vessel and sent her off to 
Charleston immediately. The fate of this army of theirs hangs 
on a very slender naval force, indeed. 

The want of barracks at fort Frederick, as represented by Col- 
onel Wood, the difficulty of getting wagons sufficient to move 
the whole Convention troops, and the state of uneasiness in which 
the regiment of guards is, have induced me to think it would be 
better to move these troops in two divisions ; and as the whole 
danger of desertion to the enemy, and correspondence with the 


disaffected in our southern counties, is from the British only, (for 
from the Germans we have no apprehensions on either head,) we 
have advised Colonel Wood to move on the British in the first 
division, and to leave the Germans in their present situation, to 
form a second division, when barracks may be erected at fort 
Frederick. By these means, the British may march immediately 
under the guard of Colonel Crochet's battalion, while Colonel 
Taylor's regiment of guards remains with the Germans. I can- 
not suppose this will be deemed such a separation as is provided 
against by the Convention, nor that their officers will wish to 
have the whole troops crowded into barracks, probably not suf- 
ficient for half of them. Should they, however, insist on their 
being kept together, I suppose it would be the opinion that the 
second division should follow the first as soon as possible, and 
that their being exposed, in that case, to a want of covering, 
would be justly imputable to themselves only. The delay of the 
second division, will lessen the distress for provisions, which 
may, perhaps, take place on their first going to the new post, be- 
fore matters are properly arranged. 

I have the honor to be, with great esteem and respect, your 
Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, November 10, 1780. 

SIR, I inclose your Excellency a copy of an intercepted let- 
ter from Major General Leslie, to Lord Cornwallis.* It was 
taken from a person endeavoring to pass through the country 


PORTSMOUTH, Virginia, November 4th, 1780. 

Mr LORD, I have been here near a week, establishing a post. I wrote to you to 
Charleston, and by another messenger, 'by land. I cannot hear, for a certainty, 
where you are : I wait your orders. The bearer is to be handsomely rewarded, if ha 
brings me any note or mark from your Lordship. A. L. 


from Portsmouth towards Carolina. When apprehended, and a 
proposal made to search him, he readily consented to be searched, 
but, at the same time, was observed to put his hand into his 
pocket and carry something towards his mouth, as if it were a 
quid of tobacco ; it was examined, and found to be a letter, of 
which the inclosed is a copy, written on silk paper, rolled up in 
gold-beater's skin, and nicely tied at each end, so as not to be 
larger than a goose-quill. As this is the first authentic disclosure 
of their purpose in coming here, and may serve to found, with 
somewhat more of certainty, conjectures respecting their future 
movements, while their disappointment in not meeting with Lord 
Cornwallis may occasion new plans at New York, I thought it 
worthy of communication to your Excellency. 

Some deserters were taken yesterday, said to be of the British 
Convention troops, who have found means to get to the enemy at 
Portsmouth, and were seventy or eighty miles on their way back 
to the barracks, when they were taken. They were passing un- 
der the guise of deserters from Portsmouth. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem and respect, 
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 

TO *. 

RICHMOND, November 10, 1780. 

SIR, Your favor of the 3d instant, enclosing Colonel Pres- 
ton's letter, came to hand on the 8th. The proposals mentioned 
in the Colonel's letter, for sending volunteers to you, were ac- 
cepted, and put, as was necessary, into such precise form as that 
all parties might know what they had a right to expect. In do- 
ing this, two circumstances happened to interfere with what had 
been expected. We required that they should be subject to 
your orders, and those of such other officer as you should place 
them under : this was to enable you to make use of them in 

[* Probably addressed to General Gates.] 


constituting the corps you had proposed under General Morgan ; 
2, that there should be two companies of rifles only to each bat- 
talion : this was the advice of General Morgan in a conversa- 
tion with me. We have since dispensed with the last of these 
conditions, and allowed every man to carry his rifle, as we found 
that absolutely necessary to induce them to go. Colonel Skiller, 
of Boletourt, writes me he has 150 engaged, and we shall en- 
deavor to prevail upon Colonel Campbell to raise another corps, 
in which, if he undertakes it, I trust he will succeed. I am 
much at a loss what should be done as to the prisoners taken at 
King's Mountain. I do not think Montgomery Courthouse a 
good place, because it is very disaffected. It is too near their 
own country, and would admit their co-operation in any enter- 
prize ou our lead mines, which are about eight miles from 
thence. I have taken measures for continuing their march 
under a guard northwardly, and in the meantime for receiving 
instructions from Congress where to terminate their journey. 
The British Convention troops will proceed immediately to Fort 
Frederick in Maryland. The Germans will remain in Albemarle 
till accommodations can be provided for them in the same place. 
From them we have no apprehensions of desertion to the enemy. 
Some British were taken yesterday, who are said to have been 
with the enemy, and were returning to the barracks. Two or 
three days ago, a British emissary from Portsmouth was taken 
endeavoring to proceed -towards Carolina. On a proposal to 
search him, they observed him to put his hand in his pocket and 
put something to his mouth like a quid of tobacco. On exam- 
ination it was found to be a letter, of which the enclosed is a 
copy, written on silk paper, rolled up in gold beater's skin, and 
nicely tied at each end, the whole not larger than a goose-quill. 
By this you will find our conjectures verified, that they expected 
to meet with Lord Cornwallis in the neighborhood at least of 
this county, and are disappointed and without an object. Can 
you not take measures for finding out the other messenger to 
Lord Cornwallis, who went by land ? The force we shall now 

immediately have together, authorizes me to assure you, you 
VOL. i. 18 


need not apprehend their penetrating any distance southwardly. 
I only lament that this measure should have intercepted our re- 
inforcements to you. We have left all the counties south of 
James River, and nearer to Hillsborough than Portsmouth, un- 
called on, that they may be ready to go to the aid of our South- 
ern friends whenever arms can be procured. 

I am, with the greatest esteem and respect, Sir, your most 
obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, November 10, 1780. 

SIR, Your two letters of October 24th and October have 
been duly received. I have been informed that the beeves which 
have been collected in Princess Anne and Norfolk, to be sent 
southwardly, were the first things which fell into the hands of 
the enemy. We received notice of this invasion a few hours 
after you left this place, and despatched a letter to recall you, 
which we expected would have found you in Petersburg. How- 
ever, you had gone on, and as there should be a general officer 
with the men from this State in the Southern service, and we 
have here three general officers, we have not repeated our call 
for your assistance. The force called on to oppose the enemy, 
is as yet in a most chaotic state, consisting of fragments of three 
months' militia, eight months' men, eighteen months' men, vol- 
unteers, and new militia. 

Were it possible to arm men, we would send on substantial 
reinforcements to you, notwithstanding the presence of the ene- 
my with us ; but the prospect of arms with us is very bad in- 
deed. I have never received a line from Mr. Lambe as to his 
success in pressing wagons. None have yet come in from the 
westward. The Executive were so far from allowing the eight 
months' men to enlist into the Volunteer Corps, as you say, they 
pretend they were expressly excluded from it in the several pro- 
positions we made for raising volunteers. Nothing of momenc 


has happened here since the arrival of the enemy. General 
Muhlenburg is at Stoaner's Mills, at the head of Pagan Creek, 
with our main force. General Nelson is on the north side of 
James River with another body. General Weeden is gone to 
join the one or the other. A British emissary was taken two or 
three days ago with a letter from General Leslie to Lord Corn- 
wallis, informing him he was at Portsmouth, but could not learn 
where his Lordship was ; that he had sent one letter to him to 
Charlestown by water, another by land, and waited his orders. 
Cannot measures be taken to apprehend the messenger who 
went by land ? 

I am, with the greatest esteem, Sir, your most humble 


RICHMOND, November 19, 1780. 

SIR, The vessel which had been sent by General Leslie to 
Charlestown, as we supposed, returned about the 12th instant. 
The enemy began to embark soon after from Portsmouth, and 
in the night of the 15th, completed the embarkation of their 
whole force. On the morning of the 16th, some of our people 
entered Portsmouth. They had left their works unfinished and 
undestroyed. Great numbers of negroes, who had gone over to 
them, were left, either for the want of ship-room or through 
choice. They had not moved from Elizabeth river at 11 o'clock 
a.m. of the 16th. They gave out that they intended to go up 
James River ; but the precipitate abandoning of works on receipt 
of some communication or other from Charlestown, was not likely 
to be for the purpose of coming up James River. I received this 
intelligence by express from General Muhlenburg yesterday morn- 
ing. As the enemy's situation was such as to give reason to ex- 

[* After the battle of Camdeu August 16th, 1180 Congress removed General 
Gates from the command of the Southern army, and placed General Green at its 
head. In December, 1780, he assumed the command.] 


pect every moment a movement in some direction, I delayed 
sending off notice to you, in hopes that that movement would 
point out their destination. But no such information being yet 
come to hand, I think it proper no longer to delay communicat- 
ing to you so much. 

Since writing so far, your favor of the 8th instant comes to 
hand, accompanied by one from General Stevens at Hillsborough 
of the 10th a strange derangement, indeed, our riders have got 
into, to be nine days coming from Hillsborough. I shall be very 
happy if the departure of the enemy, which I hourly expect to 
be confirmed, shall leave us at liberty to send you a substantial 
reinforcement. The meh,being now in the field, may be marched 
directly southwardly. What may be its precise amount, I can- 
not say, till I get from General Muhlenburg a return of the 
eighteen months' men, the eight months' men, and militia, who 
had been stopped here on their way to the southward, and from 
General Lawson a return of the volunteers he has engaged to go 
to the southward. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem, Sir, your 
most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, November 26, 1180. 

SIR, I have been honored with your Excellency's letter of 
the 8th instant. Having found it impracticable to move, sud- 
denly, the whole Convention troops, British and German, and it 
being represented that there could not, immediately, be covering 
provided for them all at Fort Frederick, we concluded to march 
off the British first, from whom was the principal danger of de- 
sertion, and to permit the Germans, who show little disposition 
to join the enemy, to remain in their present quarters till some- 
thing further be done. The British, accordingly, marched the 
20th instant. They cross the Blue Ridge at Rock Fish Gap, 
and proceed along that valley. I am to apprise your Excellency, 


that the officers of every rank, both British and German, but par- 
ticularly the former, have purchased within this State some of 
the finest horses in it. You will be pleased to determine, whether 
it be proper that they carry them within their lines. I believe 
the Convention of Saratoga entitles them to keep the horses they 
then had. But I presume none of the line, below the rank of 
field officers, had a horse. Considering the British will be now 
at Fort Frederick, and the Germans in Albemarle, Alexandria 
seems to be the most central point to which there is navigation. 
Would it not, therefore, be better that the flag vessel, solicited by 
General Phillips, should go to that place ? It is about equally 
distant from the two posts. The roads to Albemarle are good. 
I know not how those are which lead to Fort Frederick. Your 
letter referring me to General Green, for the mode of construct- 
ing light portable boats, unfortunately did not come to hand till 
he had left us. We had before determined to have something 
done in that way, and as they are still unexecuted, we should be 
greatly obliged by any draughts or hints, which could be given 
by any person within the reach of your Excellency. 

I received advice, that on the 22d instant, the enemy's fleet 
got all under way, and were standing towards the capes : as it 
still remained undecided whether they would leave the bay or 
turn up it, I waited the next stage of information, that you 
might so far be enabled to judge of their destination. This I 
hourly expected, but it did not come till this evening, when I 
am informed they all got out to sea in the night of the 22d. 
What course they steered afterwards, is not known. I must do 
their General and Commander the justice to say, that in every 
case to which their attention and influence could reach, as far as 
I have been well informed, their conduct was such as does them 
the greatest honor. In the few instances of wanton and un- 
necessary devastation, they punished the aggressors. 

I have the honor to be, 

Your Excellency's most obedient humble servant. 



RICHMOND, November 26, 1780. 

SIR, The enemy, which lately invaded us, left our capes in 
the night of the 22d instant. What course they steered after- 
wards, is not known. Another fleet of transports, under the 
command of Admiral Rodney, fell down to the Hook on the 
llth instant. As this, as well as the fleet, which lately left us, 
is destined for Charleston, we shall march from their present 
encampment all the forces who are so equipped as that they can 
proceed to distant service. With them, will go on between three 
and four hundred tents belonging to this State. Three hundred 
more are on the road from Philadelphia, and as many to follow. 
As Baron Steuben remains here to organize our forces, I shall be 
obliged, by special returns of the eighteen months' men, eight 
months' men, and three months' Militia, which have or shall 
come unto you as frequently as convenient. The Assembly 
being now met, will shortly, I hope, furnish us with money, so 
that we may be once more able to send supplies to the south- 
ward. We have collected here, at length, by impress principles, 
about thirty wagons, which have been delivered to the Con- 
tinental Quarter-Master, to be sent on with stores to Taylor's 

I am, with great esteem, sir, 

Your most obedient humble servant. 


RICHMOND, November 30th, 1780. 

SIR, The letter which covers this, being of a public nature, 
I wished to acknowledge separately the many things personally 
obliging to me, expressed in your two letters. The very small 
amusement which it has been in my power to furnish, in order 

[* One of the Convention prisoners, in Albemarle.J 


to lighten some of your heavy hours, by no means merited the 
acknowledgment you make. Their impression must be as- 
cribed to your extreme sensibility rather than to their own 
weight. My wishes for your happiness give me participation in 
your joy at being exchanged, sensibly, however, alloyed by a 
presentiment of the loss I shall sustain, when I shall again be 
permitted to withdraw to that scene of quiet retirement, abstracted 
from which I know no happiness in this world. Your line of life 
must have given you attachments to objects of a very different 
nature. When the course of events shall have removed you to 
distant scenes of action, where laurels, not tarnished with the 
blood of my country, may be gathered, I shall urge sincere 
prayers for your obtaining every honor and preferment which 
may gladden the heart of a soldier. On the other hand, should, 
your fondness for philosophy resume its merited ascendancy, is 
it impossible to hope that this unexplored country may tempt 
your residence by holding out materials wherewith to build a 
fame, founded on the happiness and not the calamities of human 
nature ? Be this as it may, whether philosopher or soldier, I 
wish you many felicities, and assure you that I am, with great 
personal esteem, Sir, 

Your most obedient, and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, December 15, 1*780. 

SIR, I had the honor of writing to your Excellency on the 
subject of an expedition contemplated by this State, against the 
British post at Detroit, and of receiving your answer of October 
the 10th. Since the date of my letter, the face of things has so 
far changed, as to leave it no longer optional in us to attempt or 
decline the expedition, but compels us to decide in the affirma- 
tive, and to begin our preparations immediately. The army the 
enemy at present have in the south, the reinforcements still ex- 


pec ted there, and their determination to direct their future exer- 
tions to that quarter, are not unknown to you. The regular force, 
proposed on our part to counteract those exertions, is such, either 
from the real or supposed inability of this State, as by no means 
to allow a hope that it may be effectual. It is, therefore, to be 
expected that the scene of war will either be within our country, 
or very nearly advanced to it ; and that our principal dependence 
is to be on militia, for which reason it becomes incumbent to keep 
as great a proportion of our people as possible free to act in that 
quarter. In the meantime, a combination is forming in the 
westward, which, if not diverted, will call thither a principal and 
most valuable part of our militia. From intelligence received, 
we have reason to expect that a confederacy of British and In- 
dians, to the amount of two thousand men, is formed for the pur- 
pose of spreading destruction and dismay through the whole ex- 
tent of our frontier in the ensuing spring. Should this take place, 
we shall certainly lose in the South all aids of militia beyond the 
Blue Ridge, besides the inhabitants who must fall a sacrifice in 
the course of the savage irruptions. 

There seems to be but one method of preventing this, which 
is, to give the western enemy employment in their own country. 
The regular force Colonel Clarke already has, with a proper 
draft from the militia beyond the Alleghany, and that of three or 
four of our most northern counties, will be adequate to the reduc- 
tion of Fort Detroit, in the opinion of Colonel Clarke ; and he 
assigns the most probable reasons for that opinion. We have, 
therefore, determined to undertake it, and commit it to his direc- 
tion. Whether the expense of the enterprise shall be defrayed 
by the Continent or State, we will leave to be decided hereafter 
by Congress, in whose justice we can confide, as to the determi- 
nation. In the meantime, we only ask the loan of such neces- 
saries as, being already at Fort Pitt, will save time and an im- 
mense expense of transportation. These articles shall either be 
identically or specifically returned ; should we prove successful, 
it is not improbable they may be where Congress would choose 
to keep them. I am, therefore, to solicit your Excellency's or- 


der to the commandant of Fort Pitt, for the articles contained 
in the annexed list, which shall not be called for until every- 
thing is in readiness ; after which, there can be no danger of 
their being wanted for the post at which they are : indeed, 
there are few of the articles essential for the defence of the 

I hope your Excellency will think yourself justified in lending 
us this aid, without awaiting the effect of an application elsewhere, 
as such a delay would render the undertaking abortive, by post- 
poning it to the breaking up of the ice in the lake. Independent 
of the favorable effects, which a successful enterprise against De- 
troit must produce to the United States, in general, by keeping 
in quiet the frontier of the northern ones, and leaving our western 
militia at liberty to aid those of the South, we think the like 
friendly office performed by us to the States, whenever desired, 
and almost to the absolute exhausture of our own magazines, give 
well-founded hopes that we may be accommodated on this occa- 
sion. The supplies of military stores, which have been furnished 
by us to Fort Pitt itself, to the northern army, and, most of all, to 
the southern, are not altogether unknown to you. I am the more 
urgent for an immediate order, because Colonel Clarke awaits 
here your Excellency's answer by the express, though his pres- 
ence in the western country, to make preparations for the expe- 
dition, is so very necessary if you enable him to undertake it. 
To the above, I must add a request to you to send for us to Pitts- 
burg, persons proper to work the mortars^ &c., as Colonel Clarke 
has none such, nor is there one in this State. They shall be in 
the pay of this State, from the time they leave you. Any money 
necessary for their journey, shall be repaid at Pittsburg, without 
fail, by the first of March. 

At the desire of the General Assembly, I take the liberty of 
transmitting to you the enclosed resolution ; and have the honor 
to be, with the most perfect esteem and regard, your Excellency's 
most obedient, and most humble servant. 



RICHMOND, January 10, 1781. 

SIR, It may seem odd, considering the important events 
which have taken place in this State within the course of ten 
days, that I should not have transmitted an account of them to 
your Excellency ; but such has been their extraordinary rapidity, 
and such the unremitted attention they have required from all 
concerned in government, that I do not recollect the portion of 
time which I could have taken to commit them to paper. 

On the 31st of December, a letter, from a private gentleman to 
General Nelson, came to my hands, notifying, that in the morn- 
ing of the preceding day, twenty-seven sail of vessels had entered 
the capes ; and from the tenor of the letter, we had reason to 
expect, within a few hours, further intelligence ; whether they 
were friends or foes, their force, and other circumstances. We 
immediately despatched General Nelson to the lower country, 
with powers to call on the militia in that quarter, or act otherwise 
as exigencies should require ; but waited further intelligence, be- 
fore we would call for militia from the middle or upper country. 
No further intelligence came until the 2d instant, when the former 
was confirmed ; it was ascertained they had advanced up James 
River in Wanasqueak bay. All arrangements were immediately 
taken, for calling in a sufficient body of militia for opposition In 
the night of the 3d, we received advice that they were at anchor 
opposite Jamestown ; we then supposed Williamsburg to be their 
object. The wind, however, which had hitherto been unfavor- 
able, shifted fair, and the tide being also in their favor, they as- 
cended the river to Kennons' that evening, and, with the next tide, 
came up to Westover, having, on their way, taken possession of 
some works we had at Hood's, by which two or three of their 
vessels received some damage, but which were of necessity 
abandoned by the small garrison of fifty men placed there, on the 
enemy's landing to invest the works. Intelligence of their having 
quitted the station at Jamestown, from which we supposed they 
meant to land for Williamsburg, and of their having got in the 


evening to Kennons', reached us the next morning at five o'clock, 
and was the first indication of their meaning to penetrate towards 
this place or Petersburg. As the orders for drawing militia here 
had been given but two days, no opposition was in readiness. 
Every effort was therefore necessary, to withdraw the arms and 
other military stores, records, &c., from this place. Every effort 
was, accordingly, exerted to convey them to the foundry five 
miles, and to a laboratory six miles, above this place, till about 
sunset of that day, when we learned the enemy had come to an 
anchor at Westover that morning. We then knew that this, and 
not Petersburg was their object, and began to carry across the 
river everything remaining here, and to remove what had been 
transported to the foundry and laboratory to Westham, the 
nearest crossing, seven miles above this place, which operation 
was continued till they had approached very near. They marched 
from Westover at two o'clock in the afternoon of the 4th, and 
entered Richmond at one o'clock in the afternoon of the 5th. A 
regiment of infantry and about thirty horse continued on, without 
halting, to the foundry. They burnt that, the boring mill, the 
magazine and two other houses, and proceeded to Westham ; but 
nothing being in their power there, they retired to Richmond. 
The next morning, they burned some buildings of public and pri- 
vate property, with what stores remained in them, destroyed a 
great quantity of private stores, and about twelve o'clock, retired 
towards Westover, where they encamped within the neck the 
next day. 

The loss sustained is not yet accurately known. As far as I 
have been able to discover, it consisted, at this place, of about 
three hundred muskets, some soldiers' clothing to a small amount, 
some quarter-master's stores, of which one hundred and twenty 
sides of leather was the principal article, part of the artificers' tools, 
and three wagons. Besides which, five brass four pounders 
which we had sunk in the river, were discovered to them, raised 
and carried off. At the foundry we lost the greater part of the 
papers belonging to the Auditor's office, and of the books and pa- 
pers of the Council office. About five or six tons of powder, as 


we conjecture, was thrown into the canal, of which there will be 
a considerable saving by re-manufacturing it. The roof of the 
foundry was burned, but the stacks of chimneys and furnaces not 
at all injured. The boring mill was consumed. Within less than 
forty-eight hours from the time of their landing, and nineteen 
from our knowing their destination, they had penetrated thirty- 
three miles, done the whole injury, and retired. Their numbers, 
from the best intelligence I have had, are about fifteen hundred 
infantry ; and, as to their cavalry, accounts vary from fifty to one 
hundred and twenty ; the whole commanded by the parricide 
Arnold. Our militia, dispersed over a large tract of country, can 
be called in but slowly. On the day the enemy advanced to this 
place, two hundred only were embodied. They were of this 
town and its neighborhood, and were too few to do anything. 
At this time they are assembled in pretty considerable numbers 
on the south side of James River, but are not yet brought to a point. 
On the north side are two or three small bodies, amounting in the 
whole, to about nine hundred men. The enemy were at four 
o'clock yesterday evening still remaining in their encampment at 
Westover and Berkeley neck. In the meanwhile, Baron Steu- 
ben, a zealous friend, has descended from the dignity of his proper 
command to direct our smallest movements. His vigilance has, 
in a great measure, supplied the want of force in preventing the 
enemy from crossing the river, which might have been very 
fatal. He has been assiduously employed in preparing equip- 
ments for the militia as they should assemble, pointing them to 
a proper object, and other offices of a good commander. Should 
they loiter a little longer, and he be able to have a sufficient 
force, I still flatter myself they will not escape with total im- 
punity. To what place they will point their next exertions we 
cannot even conjecture. The whole country on the tide waters 
and some distance from them is equally open to similar insult. 
I have the honor to be, with every sentiment of respect, your 
Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant. 



RICHMOND, January 15, 1781. 

SIR, As the dangers which threaten our western frontiers the 
ensuing spring, render it necessary that we should send thithei 
Colonel Crocket's battalion, at present on guard at Fredericktown, 
but raised for the western service, I thought it necessary to give 
your Excellency previous information thereof, that other forces 
may be provided in time to succeed to their duties. Captain 
Reid's troop of horse, if necessary, may be continued a while 
longer on guard. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your Excel- 
lency's most obedient, and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, January 15, 1781. 

SIR, I received some time ago from Major Forsyth, and af- 
terwards from you, a requisition to furnish one half of the sup- 
plies of provision for the Convention troops, removed into Mary- 
land. I should sooner have done myself the honor of writing to 
you on this subject, but that I hoped to have laid it before you 
more fully than could be done in writing, by a gentleman who 
was to pass on other public business to Philadelphia. The late 
events in this State having retarded his setting out, I think it my 
duty no longer to postpone explanation on this head. 

You cannot be unapprised of the powerful armies of our en- 
emy, at this time in this and the southern States, and that their 
future plan is to push their successes in the same quarter, by still 
larger reinforcements. The forces to be opposed to these must 
be proportionably great, and these forces must be fed. By whom 
are they to be fed ? Georgia and South Carolina are annihilated, 
at least as to us. By the requisition to us to send provisions into 
Maryland, it is to be supposed that none are to come to the south- 


ern army from any State north of this ; for it would seem incon- 
sistent, that while we should be sending North, Maryland and 
other States beyond that, should be sending their provisions 
South. Upon North Carolina, then, already exhausted by the 
ravages of two armies, and on this State, are to depend for sub- 
sistence those bodies of men who are to oppose the greater part 
of the enemy's force in the United States, the subsistence of the 
German, and of half the British Conventioners. To take a 
view of this matter on the Continental requisitions of November 
the 4th, 1780, for specific quotas of provisions, it is observable 
that North Carolina and Virginia are to furnish 10,475,740 
pounds of animal food, and 13,529 barrels of flour, while the 
States north of these will yield 25,293,810 pounds of animal 
food, and 106,471 barrels of flour. 

If the greater part of the British armies be employed in the 
South, it is to be supposed that the greater part of the American 
force will be sent there to oppose them. But should this be the 
case, while the distribution of the provisions is so very unequal, 
would it be proper to render it still more so, by withdrawing a 
part of our contributions to the support of posts northward of 
us ? It would certainly be a great convenience to us, to deliver 
a portion of our specifics at Fredericktown, rather than in Caro- 
lina; but I leave it to you to judge, whether this would be 
consistent with the general good or safety. Instead of send- 
ing aids of any kind to the northward, it seems but too certain 
that unless very timely and substantial assistance be received 
from thence, our enemies are yet far short of the ultimate term 
of their successes. I beg leave, therefore, to refer to you whether 
the specifics of Maryland, as far as shall be necessary, had not 
better be applied to the support of the posts within it, for which 
its quota is much more than sufficient, or, were it otherwise 
whether those of the States north of Maryland had not better 
be called on, than to detract anything from the resources of the 
southern opposition, already much too small for the encounter to 
which it is left. I am far from wishing to count or measure our 
contributions by the requisitions of Congress. Were they ever 


so much beyond these, I should readily strain them in aid of any 
one of our sister States. But while they are so far short of those 
calls to which they must be pointed in the first instance, it would 
be great misapplication to divert them to any other purpose ; 
and I am persuaded you will think me perfectly within the line 
of duty, when I ask a revisal of this requisition. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, sir, 

Your most obedient, and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, January 17, 1781. 

SIR, I do myself the honor of transmitting to your Excel- 
lency a resolution of the General Assembly of this Common- 
wealth, entered into in consequence of the resolution of 
Congress of September the 6th, 1780, on the subject of the Con- 
federation. I shall be rendered very happy if the other States 
of the Union, equally impressed with the necessity of that im- 
portant convention, shall be willing to sacrifice equally to its com- 
pletion. This single event, could it take place shortly, would 
overweigh every success which the enemy have hitherto ob- 
tained, and render desperate the hopes to which those successes 
have given birth. 

I have the honor to be, with the most real esteem and respect, 
your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, January 18, 1781. 

GENTLEMEN, I enclose you a Resolution of Assembly, direct- 
ing your conduct as to the navigation of the Mississippi. 

The loss of powder lately sustained by us (about five tons), 
together with the quantities sent on to the southward, have re- 


duced our stock very low indeed. We lent to Congress, in tho 
course of the last year (previous to our issues for the southern 
army), about ten tons of powder. I shall be obliged to you, to 
procure an order from the board of war, for any quantity from 
five to ten tons, to be sent us immediately from Philadelphia or 
Baltimore, and to enquire into and hasten, from time to time, 
the execution of it. The stock of cartridge-paper is nearly ex- 
hausted. I do not know whether Captain Irish, or what other 
officer, should apply for this. It is essential that a good stock 
should be forwarded, and without a moment's delay. If there 
be a rock on which we are to split, it is the want of muskets, 
bayonets and cartouch-boxes. 

The occurrences, since my last to the President, are not of any 
magnitude. Three little rencounters have happened with the 
enemy. In the first, General Smallwood led on a party of two 
or three hundred militia, and obliged some armed vessels of the 
enemy to retire from a prize they had taken at Broadway's, and 
renewing his attack the next day with a four-pounder or two (for 
on the first day he had only muskets), he obliged some of their 
vessels to fall down from City Point to their main fleet at West- 
over. The enemy's loss is not known ; ours was four men 
wounded. One of the evenings, during their encampment at 
Westover and Berkeley, their light horse surprised a party of about 
one hundred or one hundred and fifty militia at Charles City 
Court House, killed and wounded four, and took, as has been 
generally said, about seven or eight. On Baron Steuben's ap- 
proach towards Hood's, they embarked at Westover ; the wind 
which, till then, had set directly up the river from the time of 
their leaving Jamestown, shifted in the moment to the opposite 
point. Baron Steuben had not reached Hood's, by eight or ten 
miles, when they arrived there. They landed their whole army 
in the night, Arnold attending in person. Captain Clarke (of 
Kaskaskias) had been sent on with two hundred and forty men 
by Baron Steuben, and having properly disposed of them in am- 
buscade, gave them a deliberate fire, which killed seventeen on 
the spot, and wounded thirteen. They returned it in confusion 


by which we had three or four wounded, and our party being so 
small and without bayonets, were obliged to retire, on the 
enemy's charging with bayonets. They fell down to Cobham, 
whence they carried all the tobacco there (about sixty hogs- 
heads) ; and the last intelligence was, that on the 16th, they 
were standing for New-ports-news. Baron Steuben is of opinion, 
they are proceeding to fix a post in some of the lower counties. 
Later information has given no reason to believe their force more 
considerable than we at first supposed. I think, since the arrival 
of the three transports which had been separated in a storm, they 
may be considered as about two thousand strong. Their naval 
force, according to the best intelligence, is the Charon, of forty- 
four guns, Commodore Symmonds, the Amphitrite, Iris, Thames, 
and Charlestown frigates, the Forvey, of twenty guns, two sloops 
of war, a privateer ship and two brigs. We have about thirty- 
seven hundred militia embodied, but at present they are divided 
into three distant encampments : one under General Weeden, at 
Fredericksburg, for the protection of the important works there ; 
another under General Nelson, at and near Williamsburg ; and a 
third under Baron Steuben, at Cabin Point. As soon as the 
enemy fix themselves, these will be brought to a point. 

I have the honor to be, with very great respect, gentlemen, 
your most obedient servant. 


RICHMOND, January 21, 1781. 

SIR, Acquainted as you are with the treasons of Arnold, I need 
say nothing for your information, or to give you a proper senti- 
ment of them. You will readily suppose, that it is above all 
things desirable to drag him from those under whose wing he is 
now sheltered. On his march to and from this place, I am cer- 

[* This letter has no address, but it was probably to General Muhlenburg.] 
VOL. I. 19 


tain it might have been done with facility by men of enterprise 
and firmness. I think it may still be done, though perhaps not 
quite so easily. Having peculiar confidence in the men from the 
western side of the mountains, I meant, as soon as they should 
come down, to get the enterprise proposed to a chosen number 
of them : such whose courage and whose fidelity would be 
above all doubt. Your perfect knowledge of those men person- 
ally, and my confidence in your discretion, induces me to ask 
you to pick from among them proper characters, in such numbers 
as you think best, to reveal to them our desire, and engage them 
to undertake to seize and bring off this greatest of all traitors. 
Whether this may be best affected by their going in as friends, 
and awaiting their opportunity, or otherwise, is left to themselves. 
The smaller the number the better, so that they be sufficient to 
manage him. Every necessary caution must be used on their 
part, to prevent a discovery of their design by the enemy, as, 
should they be taken, the laws of war will justify against them 
the most rigorous sentence. I will undertake, if they are suc- 
cessful in bringing him off alive, that they shall receive five 
thousand guineas reward among them. And to men, formed for 
such an enterprise, it must be a great incitement to know that 
their names will be recorded with glory in history, with those 
of Vanwert, Paulding, and Williams. The enclosed order from 
Baron Steuben will authorize you to call for and dispose of any 
force you may think necessary, to place in readiness for covering 
the enterprise and securing the retreat of the party. Mr. New- 
ton, the bearer of this, and to whom its contents are communi- 
cated in confidence, will provide men of trust to go as guides. 
These may be associated in the enterprise or not, as you please. 
But let that point be previously settled, that no difficulties may 
arise as to the parties entitled to participate of the reward. You 
know how necessary profound secrecy is in this business, even 
if it be not undertaken. 



RICHMOND, February 8, 1*781. 

SIR, I have just received intelligence, which, though from a 
private hand, I believe is to be relied on, that a fleet of the ene- 
my's ships have entered Cape Fear river, that eight of them had 
got over the bar, and many others were laying off ; and that it 
was supposed to be a reinforcement to Lord Cornwallis, under 
the command of General Prevost. This account, which had 
. come through another channel, is confirmed by a letter from 
General Parsons at Halifax, to the gentleman who forwards it 
to me. I thought it of sufficient importance to be communi- 
cated to your Excellency by the stationed expresses. The fatal 
want of arms puts it out of our power to bring a greater force 
into the field, than will barely suffice to restrain the adventures 
of the pitiful body of men they have at Portsmouth. Should 
any more be added to them, this country will be perfectly open 
to them, by land as well as water. 

I have the honor to be, with all possible respect, your Excel- 
lency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, February 12, 178!. 

SIR, The enclosed extract of a letter from Governor Nash,* 
which I received this day, being a confirmation of the intelli- 
gence I transmitted in a former letter, I take the liberty of trans- 
mitting it to your Excellency. I am informed, through a private 
channel on which I have considerable reliance, that the enemy 
had landed five hundred troops under the command of a Major 
Craig, who were joined by a number of disaffected ; that they 
had penetrated forty miles ; that their aim appeared to be the 

[* Governor of North Carolina.] 


magazine at Kingston, from which place they were about twenty 
miles distant. 

Baron Steuben transmits to your Excellency a letter from Gen- 
eral Greene, by which you will learn the events which have 
taken place in that quarter since the defeat of Colonel Tarleton, 
by General Morgan. These events speak best for themselves, 
and no doubt will suggest what is necessary to be done to pre- 
vent the successive losses of State after State, to which the 
want of arms and of a regular soldiery, seem more especially to 
expose those in the South. 

I have the honor to be, with every sentiment of respect, your 
Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, February 17, 1781. 

SIR, By a letter from .General Greene, dated Guilford Court 
House, February 10th, we are informed that Lord Cornwallis 
had burnt his own wagons, in order to enable himself to move 
with greater facility, and had pressed immediately on.* The 

[* General Greene, after taking command of the Southern army, divided his force, 
and sent one division of it, under General Morgan, to the western part of South 
Carolina. Cornwallis, who was now nearly prepared to invade North Carolina, un- 
willing to leave Morgan in his rear, sent Tarleton in pursuit of him. The two de- 
tachments met on the 17th of January, 1781, when the battle of Cow pen a was 
fought, and Tarleton defeated. Cornwallis, after the defeat of Tarleton, abandoned 
the invasion of North Carolina for the present, and started in pursuit of Morgan. 
Greene, suspecting his intention, hastened to join Morgan, and, after a fatiguing 
march, effected a junction at Guilford Court House. Daring this march he was 
closely pursued by Cornwallis, who, as .stated in the above letter, " burnt his own 
wagons in order to enable himself to move with greater facility." After this junc- 
tion at Guilford Court House, Greene crossed the Dan, into Virginia again narrowly 
escaping the pursuit of Cornwallis, who now retired to Hillsborough, where, erect- 
ing the royal standard, he issued his proclamation, inviting the loyalists to join him, 
and sent Tarleton with a detachment to support a body of them collected between 
the Havre and Deep Rivers. Greene, having despatched Generals Pickens and Lee 
to watch the movements of Tarleton, and having been reinforced in Virginia, now 


prisoners taken at the Cowpens, were happily saved by the ac- 
cidental rise of a water-course, which gave so much time as to 
withdraw them from the reach of the enemy. Lord Cornwallis 
had advanced to the vicinities of the Moravian towns, and was 
stiJl moving on rapidly. His object was supposed to be to com- 
pel General Greene to an action, which, under the difference of 
force they had, would probably be ruinous to the latter. Gen- 
eral Greene meant to retire by the way of Boyd's ferry, on the 
Roanoke. As yet he had lost little or no stores or baggage, but 
they were far from being safe. In the instant of receiving this 
intelligence, we ordered a reinforcement of militia to him, from 
the most convenient counties in which there was a hope of find- 
ing any arms. Some great event must arise from the present 
situation of things, which, for a long time, will determine the 
condition of southern affairs. 

Arnold lies close in his quarters. Two days ago, I received 
information of the arrival of a sixty-four gun ship and two frig- 
ates in our bay, being part of the fleet of our good ally at Rhode 
Island. Could they get at the British fleet here, they are sufli- 
3ient to destroy them ; but these being drawn up into Elizabeth 
River, into which the sixty-four cannot enter, I apprehend they 
could do nothing more than block up the river. This, indeed, 
would reduce the enemy, as we could cut off their supplies by 
land ; but the operation being tedious, would probably be too 
dangerous for the auxiliary force. Not having yet had any par- 
ticular information of the designs of the French Commander, I 
cannot pretend to say what measures this aid will lead to. 

Our proposition to the Cherokee Chiefs, to visit Congress, for 
the purpose of preventing or delaying a rupture with that nation, 
was too late. Their distresses had too much ripened their alien- 
ation from us, and the storm had gathered to a head, when Major 
Martin got back. It was determined to carry the war into their 
country, rather than await it in ours, and thus disagreeably cir- 
cumstanced, the issue has been successful. 

returned into North Carolina, and fought the battle of GUiilford Court House on the 
th of March, 1781. ED.] 


The militia of this State and North Carolina penetrated into 
their country, burned almost every town they had, amounting tc 
about one thousand houses in the whole, destroyed fifty thousand 
bushels of grain, killed twenty-nine, and took seventeen prisoners. 
The latter are mostly women and children. 

I enclose your Excellency the particulars as reported to me. 
Congress will be pleased to determine on Col. Campbell's propo- 
sition to build the fort at the confluence of the Holston and Ten- 

I have the honor to be, &c., your Excellency's most obedient 
humble servant, 

P. S. Since writing the above, I have received information 
which, though not authentic, deserves attention : that Lord Corn- 
wallis had got to Boyd's ferry on the 14th. I am issuing orders, 
in consequence, to other counties, to embody and march all the 
men they can arm. In this fatal situation, without arms, there 
will be no safety for the Convention troops but in their removal, 
which I shall accordingly order. The prisoners of the Cowpens 
were at New London (Bedford Court House) on the 14th. 


RICHMOND, February 17, 1781. 

DEAR GENERAL, The situation of affairs here and in Carolina, 
is such as must shortly turn up important events, one way or the 
other. By letter from General Greene, dated Guilford Court 
House, February the 10th, I learn that Lord Cornwallis, rendered 
furious by the affair at the Cowpens and the surprise of George- 
town, had burned his own wagons, to enable himself to move 
with facility, had pressed on to the vicinity of the Moravian 
towns, and was still advancing. The prisoners, taken at the Cow- 
pens, were saved by a hair's-breadth accident, and Greene was 
retreating. His force, two thousand regulars, and no militia ; 


Cornwallis's, three thousand. General Davidson was killed in a 
skirmish. Arnold lies still at Portsmouth with fifteen hundred 
men. A French sixty-four gun ship, and two frigates of thirty- 
six each, arrived in our bay three days ago. They would suffice 
to destroy the British shipping here (a forty four frigate, and a 
twenty,) could they get at them. But these are withdrawn up 
Elizabeth river, which the sixty-four cannot enter. We have 
ordered about seven hundred riflemen from Washington, Mont- 
gomery and Bedford, and five hundred common militia from 
Pittsylvania and Henry, to reinforce General Greene ; and five 
hundred new levies will march from Chesterfield Court House, 
in a few days. I have no doubt, however, that the southwestern 
counties will have turned out in greater numbers before our orders 
reach them. 

I have been knocking at the door of Congress for aids of all 
kinds, but especially of arms, ever since the middle of summer. 
The speaker, Harrison, is gone to be heard on that subject. 
Justice, indeed, requires that we should be aided powerfully. 
Yet if they would repay us the arms we have lent them, we 
should give the enemy trouble, though abandoned to ourselves. 

After repeated applications, I have obtained a warrant for your 
advance money, 18,000, which I have put into the hands of Mr. 
McAlister, to receive the money from the Treasurer, and carry it 
to you. 

I am, with very sincere esteem, dear Sir, your friend and ser- 


RICHMOND, February 17, 1781, 

SIR, I have received your several favors by Mr. Sathim, and 
am much pleased at the happy issue of the expedition against 
the Cherokees. I wish it to be used for the purpose of bringing 
about peace, which, under our present circumstances, is as neces- 
sary for us, as it can possibly be to them. 


If you can effect this, a right should be reserved of building a 
fort at the confluence of Holston and Tennessee ; a matter 
which we must refer to Congress, as it lies not within our boun- 
dary. The prisoners you have taken had better be kept for the 
purpose of exchanging for any of ours taken by them. Should 
any surplus be on hand at the conclusion of peace, they should 
be given up. Nancy Ward seems rather to have taken refuge 
with you. In this case, her inclination ought to be followed as 
to what is done with her. 

As by our laws, the pay of militia is made the same with that 
of the Continental troops, and that, by a resolution of Congress, 
is to be in the new money of March 18th, 1780, or in old money 
at forty for one, I apprehend you will be paid at that rate. By 
a late arrangement, the Commissary is directed to have a deputy 
in every county. I hope that by their means the militia may 
henceforward be better supplied with provisions when proceed- 
ing on an expedition. The fort at Powell's Valley you will 
please to proceed on. We approve of the company you have 
raised for patrolling against the Indians and garrisoning the 

I am, with much respect, sir, your most obedient servant. 


RICHMOND, February 26, 1781. 

Sm, I gave you information in my last letter, that General 
Greene had crossed the Dan, at Boyd's ferry, and that Lord 
Cornwallis had arrived at the opposite shore. Large reinforce- 
ments of militia having embodied both in front and rear of the 
enemy, he is retreating with as much rapidity as he advanced ; 
his route is towards Hillsborough. General Greene re-crossed 
the Dan on the 21st, in pursuit of him. I have the pleasure to 
inform you, that the spirit of opposition was as universal as could 
have been wished for. There was no restraint on the numbers 
that embodied, but the want of arms. 


The British at Portsmouth lie close in their lines. The French 
squadron keep them in by water, and since their arrival, as they 
put it out of the power of the enemy to cut off our retreat by 
sending up Nansemond river, our force has been moved down 
close to their lines. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, 

Your most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, March 4th, 1781. 

SIR, I have been honored with your letter of Feb. 5th. 
Mr. Jones did put into my hands a paper containing sundry in- 
quiries into the present state of Virginia, which he informed me 
was from yourself, and some of which I meant to do myself the 
honor of answering. 

Hitherto it has been in my power to collect a few materials 
only, which my present occupations disable me from completing. 
I mean, however, shortly to be in a condition which will leave 
me quite at leisure to take them up, when it shall be one of my 
first undertakings to give you as full information as I shall be able 
to do on such of the subjects as are within the sphere of my ac- 
quaintance. On some of them, however, I trust Mr. Jones will 
engage abler hands. Those in particular which relate to the 
commerce of the State, a subject with which I am wholly unac- 
quainted, and which is probably the most important in your plan. 


RICHMOND, March 8th, 1781. 

SIR, I had the pleasure of receiving a letter from General 
Greene, dated High-rock Ford, February 29th (probably March the 

[* M. de Marbois was attached to the French Legation in Philadelphia. ED.] 


1st), who informs me, that on the night of the 24th Colonel McCal] 
surprised a subaltern's guard at Hart's Mill, killed eight, and 
wounded and took nine prisoners, and that on the 25th Gen- 
eral Pickens and Lieutenant Colonel Lee routed a body of near 
three hundred Tories on the Haw river, who were in arms to 
join the British army, killed upwards of one hundred, and 
wounded most of the rest, which had a very happy effect on the 
disaffected in that country. 

By a letter from Major Magill, an officer of this State, whom 
I had sent to General Greene's head-quarters for the purpose of 
giving us regular intelligence, dated Guilford County, March 2d, 
I am informed that Lord Cornwallis, on his retreat, erected the 
British standard at Hillsborough, that a number of disaffected 
under the command of Colonel Piles were resorting to it, when 
they were intercepted by General Pickens and Lieutenant Col- 
onel Lee, as mentioned by General Greene, and that their com- 
manding officer was among the slain : that Lord Cornwallis, after 
destroying everything he could, moved down the Haw river 
from Hillsborough : that General Greene was within six miles 
of him : that our superiority in the goodness, though not in the 
number of our cavalry, prevented the enemy from moving with rap- 
idity or foraging. Having been particular in desiring Major Magill 
to inform me what corps of militia from this State joined Gen- 
eral Greene, he accordingly mentioned that seven hundred under 
General Stevens, and four hundred from Botetourt, had actually 
joined him ; that Colonel Campbell was to join him that day with 
six hundred, and that Colonel Lynch with three hundred from 
Bedford, was shortly expected : the last three numbers being 
riflemen. Besides these mentioned by Major Magill, General 
Lawson must, before this, have crossed Roanoke with a body 
of militia, the number of which has not been stated to me. Re- 
port makes them a thousand ; but I suppose the number to be 
exaggerated. Four hundred of our new levies left Chesterfield 
Court House on the 25th February, and probably would cross 
the Roanoke about the 1st or 2d of March. 

I was honored with your Excellency's letter of February the 



21st, within seven days after its date. We have, accordingly, 
been making every preparation on our part which we are able to 
make. The militia proposed to co-operate, will be upwards of 
four thousand from this State, and one thousand or twelve hun- 
dred from Carolina, said to be under General Gregory. The en- 
emy are, at this time, in a great measure blockaded by land, 
there being a force on the east side of Elizabeth river. They 
suffer for provisions, as they are afraid to venture far, lest the 
French squadron should be in the neighborhood, and come upon 
them. Were it possible to block up the river, a little time would 
suffice to reduce them by want and desertions, and would be more 
sure in its event than an attempt by storm. I shall be very 
happy to have it in my power to hand you a favorable account 
of these two armies in the South. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem and respect, 
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, March 19, 1781. 

SIR, I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a copy 
of a letter from General Greene, with some other intelligence re- 
ceived, not.doubting your anxiety to know the movements in the 
South. I find we have deceived ourselves not a little by count- 
ing on the whole numbers of the militia which have been in 
motion, as if they had all remained with General Greene, when, 
in fact, they seem only to have visited and quitted him. 

The Marquis Fayette arrived at New York on the 15th. His 
troops still remained at the head of the bay, till the appearance 
of some force which should render their passage down safe. 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest esteem 
and respect, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble 



RICHMOND March 21, 1781. 

SIR, The enclosed letter will inform you of the arrival of a 
British fleet in the Chesapeake bay. 

The extreme negligence of our stationed expresses is no doubt 
the cause why, as yet, no authentic account has reached us of a 
general action, which happened on the 15th instant, about a mile 
and a half from Guilford Court House, between General Greene 
and Lord Cornwallis. Captain Singleton, an intelligent officer 
of Harrison's artillery, who was in the action, has this moment 
arrived here, and gives the general information that both parties 
were prepared and desirous for action ; the enemy were supposed 
about twenty-five hundred strong, our army about four thousand. 
That, after a very warm and general engagement, of about an 
hour and a half, we retreated about a mile and a half from the 
field, in good order, having, as he supposed, between two and 
three hundred killed and wounded : the enemy between five 
and seven hundred killed and wounded ; that we lost four pieces 
of artillery : that the militia, as well as regulars, behaved exceed- 
ingly well : that General Greene, he believes, would have re- 
newed the action the next day, had it not proved rainy, and 
would renew it as soon as possible, as he supposes : that the 
whole of his troops, both regulars and militia, were in high 
spirits and wishing a second engagement : that the loss has fallen 
pretty equally on the militia and regulars : that General Stevens 
received a ball through the thigh. Major Anderson, of Mary- 
land, was killed, and Captain Barrett, of Washington's cavalry ; 
Captain Fauntleroy, of the same cavalry, was shot through the 
thigh, and left on the field. 

Captain Singleton ; having left the camp the day after the bat- 
tle, does not speak from particular returns, none such having 
been then made. I must inform your Excellency from him, till 
more regular applications can reach you, that they are in extreme 
want of lead, cartridge paper and thread. I think it improper, 
however it might urge an instantaneous supply, to repeat to you 


his statement of the extent of their stock of these articles. In a 
former letter, I mentioned to you the failure of the vein of our 
lead mines, which has left the army here in a state of equal dis- 
tress and danger. 

I have the honor to be, with very high respect and esteem, 
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 

P. S. Look-out boats have been ordered from the seaboard 
of the eastern shore, to apprise the Commander of the French 
fleet, on its approach, of the British being in the Chesapeake. 


In Council, RICHMOND, March 26, 17S1. 

SIR, The appointment of commissioner to the war office of 
this State, having lately become vacant, the Executive are de- 
sirous to place Colonel William Davies, of the Virginian Conti- 
nentals, in that office. This gentleman, however, declines un- 
dertaking it, unless his rank in the army, half pay for life and 
allowance for depreciation of pay, can be reserved to him ; ob- 
serving with justice, that these emoluments, distant as they are, 
are important to a person who has spent the most valuable part 
of his youth in the service of his country. As this indulgence 
rests in the power of Congress alone, I am induced to request it 
of them on behalf of the State, to whom it is very interesting 
that the office be properly filled, and I may say, on behalf of the 
Continent also, to whom the same circumstance is interesting, in 
proportion to its reliance upon this State for supplies to the south- 
ern war. We should not have given Congress the trouble of 
this application, had we found it easy to call any other to the 
office, who was likely to answer our wishes in the exercise of it. 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect, 
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 



RICHMOND, March 28, 1781. 

SIR, I forward to your Excellency, under cover with this, 
copies of letters received from Major General Greene and Baron 
Steuben, which will give you the latest account of the situation 
of things with us and in North Carolina. 

I observe a late resolve of Congress, for furnishing a number 
of arms to the southern States ; and I lately wrote you on the 
subject of ammunition and cartridge paper. How much of this 
State, the enemy thus reinforced, may think proper to possess 
themselves of, must depend on their own moderation and caution, 
till these supplies arrive. We had hoped to receive by the 
French squadron under Monsieur Destouchcs, eleven hundred 
stand of arms, which we had at Rhode Island, but were disap- 
pointed. The necessity of hurrying forward the troops intended 
for the southern operations, will be doubtless apparent from this 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your Excel- 
lency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, March 31, 1781. 

SIR, The letters and papers accompanying this will inform 
your Excellency of the arrival of a British flag vessel with 
clothing, refreshments, money, &c., for their prisoners, under the 
Convention of Saratoga. The gentlemen conducting them, 
have, on supposition that the prisoners, or a part of them, still 
remained in this State, applied to me by letters, copies of which 
I transmit your Excellency, for leave to allow water transporta- 
tion as far as possible, and then, for themselves to attend them to 
the post where they are to be issued, These indulgences were 
usually granted them here, but the prisoners being removed, it 


becomes necessary to transmit the application to Congress for 
their direction. In the meantime, the flag will wait in James 

Our intelligence from General Greene's camp as late as the 
24th, is, that Lord Cornwallis's march of the day before had de- 
cided his route to Cross creek. 

The amount of the reinforcements to the enemy, arrived at 
Portsmouth, is not yet known with certainty. Accounts diifer 
from fifteen hundred to much larger numbers. We are informed 
they have a considerable number of horse. The affliction of the 
people for want of arms is great ; that of ammunition is not yet 
known to them. An apprehension is added, that the enterprise 
on Portsmouth being laid aside, the troops under the Marquis 
Fayette will not come on. An enemy three thousand strong, 
riot a regular in the State, nor arms to put in the hands of the 
militia, are, indeed, discouraging circumstances. 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect, 
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, April 7, 1781. 

SIR, Hearing that our arms from Rhode Island have arrived 
at Philadelphia, I have begged the favor of our Delegates to ' 
send them on in wagons immediately, and, for the conveyance 
of my letter, have taken the liberty of setting the Continental 
line of expresses in motion, which I hope our distress for arms 
will justify, though the errand be not purely Continental. 

I have nothing from General Greene later than the 27th of 
March ; our accounts from Portsmouth vary the reinforcements, 
which came under General Phillips, from twenty-five hundred 
to three thousand. Arnold's strength before, was, I think, re- 
duced to eleven hundred. They have made no movement as 
yet. Their preparation of boats is considerable ; whether they 


mean to go southwardly or up the river, no leading circumstance 
has yet decided. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, your Excel- 
lency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


la Council, April 18, 1781. 

SIR, I was honored, yesterday with your Excellency's favor 
enclosing the resolutions of Congress of the 8th instant, for re- 
moving stores and provisions from the counties of Accomack 
and Northampton. We have, there no military stores, except a 
few muskets in the hands of the militia. There are some col- 
lections of forage and provisions belonging to the Continent, 
and some to the State, and the country there, generally, fur- 
nishes an abundance of forage. But such is the present con- 
dition of Chesapeake Bay that we cannot even get an advice 
boat across it with any certainty, much less adventure on trans- 
portation. Should, however, any interval happen, in which 
these articles may be withdrawn, we shall certainly avail our- 
selves of it, and bring thence whatever we can. 

If I have been rightly informed, the horses there are by no 
means such, as that the enemy could apply them to the purposes 
of cavalry. Some large enough for the draught may, perhaps, 
be found, but of these not many. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your Excel- 
lency's most obedient and most humble servant. 


RICHMOND, April 23, 1781. 

SIR, On the 18th instant, the enemy came from Portsmouth 
up James river, in considerable force, though their numbers are 


not yet precisely known to us. They landed at Burwell's ferry, 
below Williamsburg, and also a short distance above the mouth 
of Chickahomony. This latter circumstance obliged Colonel 
Innis, who commanded a body of militia, stationed on that side 
the river to cover the country from depredation, to retire up- 
wards, lest he should be placed between their two bodies. One 
of these entered Williamsburg on the 20th, and the other pro- 
ceeded to a ship-yard we had on Chickahomony. What injury 
they did there, I am not yet informed. I take for granted, they 
have burned an unfinished twenty-gun ship we had there. 
Such of the stores, belonging to the yard as were movable, had 
been carried some miles higher up the river. Two small gallies 
also retired up the river. Whether by this, either the stores or 
gallies were saved, is yet unknown. I am just informed, from a 
private hand, that they left Williamsburg early yesterday morn- 
ing. If this sudden departure was not in consequence of some 
circumstance of alarm unknown to us, their expedition to Wil- 
liamsburg has been unaccountable. There were no public stores 
at that place, but those which were necessary for the daily sub- 
sistence of the men there. Where they mean to descend next, 
the event alone can determine. Besides harassing our militia 
with this kind of war, the taking them from their farms at the 
interesting season of planting their corn, will have an unfor- 
tunate effect on the crop of the ensuing year. 

I have heard nothing certain of General Greene since the 6th 
instant, except that his head-quarters were on Little river on 
the llth. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem, 
your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, 


RICHMOND, May 9, 1781. 

Sm, Since the last letter which I had the honor of address- 
ing to your Excellency, the military movements in this State, 
VOL. i. 20 


except a very late one, have scarcely merited communica- 

The enemy, after leaving Williamsburg, came directly up 
James river and landed at City Point, being the point of land 
on the southern point of the confluence of Appamattox and 
James rivers. They marched up to Petersburg, where they 
were received by Baron Steuben, with a body of militia some- 
what under one thousand, who, though the enemy were two 
thousand and three hundred strong, disputed the ground very 
handsomely two hours, during which time the enemy gained 
only one mile, and that by inches. Our troops were then or- 
dered to retire over a bridge, which they did in perfectly good 
order. Our loss was between sixty and seventy, killed, wound- 
ed, and taken. The enemy's is unknown, but it must be equal 
to ours ; for their own honor they must confess this, as they 
broke twice and run like sheep, till supported by fresh troops. 
An inferiority in number obliged our force to withdraw about 
twelve miles upwards, till more militia should be assembled. 
The enemy burned all the tobacco in the warehouses at Peters- 
burg and its neighborhood. They afterwards proceeded to Os- 
borne's, where they did the same, and also destroyed the residue 
of the public armed vessels, and several of private property, and 
then came to Manchester, which is on the hill opposite this place. 

By this time, Major General Marquis Fayette having been 
advised of our danger, had, by forced marches, got here with his 
detachment of Continental troops ; and reinforcements of militia 
having also come in, the enemy, finding we were able to meet 
them on equal footing, thought proper to burn the warehouses 
and tobacco at Manchester, and retire to Warwick, where they 
did the same. Ill armed and untried militia, who never before 
saw the face of an enemy, have, at times, during the course of 
this war, given occasions of exultation to our enemies, but they 
afforded us, while at Warwick, a little satisfaction in the same 
way. Six or eight hundred of their picked men of light in- 
fantry, with General Arnold at their head, having crossed the 
river from Warwick, fled from a patrole of sixteen horse, every 


man into his boat as he could, some pushing North, some South, 
as their fears drove them. Their whol force then proceeded 
to the Hundred, being the point of land within the confluence 
of the two rivers, embarked, and fell down the river. Their 
foremost vessels had got below Burwell's ferry on the 6th in- 
stant, when, on the arrival of a boat from Portsmouth, and a 
signal given, the whole crowded sail up the river again with a 
fair wind and tide, and came to anchor at Brandon ; there six 
days' provision was dealt out to every man ; they landed, and 
had orders to march an hour before day the next morning. We 
have not yet heard which way they went, or whether they have 
gone, but having, about the same time, received authentic infor- 
mation that Lord Cornwallis had, on the 1st instant, advanced 
from Wilmington half way to Halifax, we have no doubt, put- 
ting all circumstances together, that these two armies are form- 
ing a junction. 

We are strengthening our hands with militia, as far as arms, 
either public or private, can be collected, but cannot arm a force 
which may face the combined armies of the enemy. It will, 
therefore, be of very great importance that General Wayne's 
forces be pressed on with the utmost despatch. Arms and a naval 
foroe, however, are what must ultimately save us. This movement 
of our enemies we consider as most perilous in its consequences. 

Our latest advices from General Greene were of the 26th ult., 
when he was lying before Camden, the works and garrison of 
which were much stronger than he had expected to find them. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your Excellency's 
most obedient humble servant. 


IN COUNCIL, May 10, 1781. 

GENTLEMEN, A small affair has taken place between the 
British commanding officer in this State, General Phillips, and 


the Executive, of which, as he may endeavor to get rid of it 
through the medium of Congress, I think it necessary previously 
to apprise you. 

General Scott obtained permission from the Commandant at 
Charleston, for vessels with necessary supplies to go from hence 
to them, but instead of sending the original, sent only a copy of 
the permission taken by his brigade major. I applied to Gen- 
eral Phillips to supply this omission by furnishing a passport for 
the vessel. Having just before taken great offence at a threat 
of retaliation in the treatment of prisoners, he enclosed his an- 
swer to my letter under this address, " To Thomas Jefferson, 
Esq., American Governor of Virginia." I paused on receiving 
the letter, and for some time would not open it ; however, when 
the miserable condition of our brethren in Charleston occurred 
to me, I could not determine that they should be left without 
the necessaries of life, while a punctilio should be discussing be- 
tween the British General and myself ; and, knowing that I had 
an opportunity of returning the compliment to Mr. Phillips in a 
case perfectly corresponding, I opened the letter. 

Very shortly after, I received, as I expected, the permission of 
the board of war, for the British flag vessel then in Hampton 
Roads with clothing and refreshments, to proceed to Alexandria 
I enclosed and addressed it, " To William Phillips, Esq., com- 
manding the British forces in the Commonwealth of Virginia." 
Personally knowing Phillips to be the proudest man of the proud- 
est nation on earth, I well know he will not open this letter ; but 
having occasion, at the same time, to write to Captain Gerlach, 
the flag-master, I informed him that the Convention troops in this 
State should perish for want of necessaries, before any should be 
carried to them through this State, till General Phillips either 
swallowed this pill of retaliation, or made an apology for his 
rudeness. And in this, should the matter come ultimately to 
Congress, we hope for their support. 

He has the less right to insist on the expedition of his flag, be- 
cause his letter, instead of enclosing a passport to expedite ours, 
contained only an evasion of the application, by saying he had 


referred it to Sir Henry Clinton, and in the meantime, he has 
come up the river, and taken the vessel with her loading, which 
we had chartered and prepared to send to Charleston, and which 
wanted nothing but the passport to enable her to depart. 

I would further observe to you, that this gentleman's letters to 
the Baron Steuben first, and afterwards to the Marquis Fayette, 
have been in a style so intolerably insolent and haughty, that 
both these gentlemen have been obliged to inform him, that 
if he thinks proper to address them again in the same spirit, all 
intercourse shall be discontinued. 

I am, with great respect and esteem, Gentlemen, 

Your most obedient servant. 



SIR, I make no doubt you will have heard, before this shall 
nave the honor of being presented to your Excellency, of the 
junction of Lord Cornwallis with the force at Petersburg under 
Arnold, who had succeeded to the command on the death of 
Major-general Phillips. I am now advised that they have evacu- 
ated Petersburg, joined at Westover a reinforcement of two 
thousand men just arrived from New York, crossed James river, 
and on the 26th instant, were three miles advanced on their way 
towards Richmond ; at which place, Major-General the Marquis 
Fayette lay with three thousand men, regulars and militia : these 
being the whole number we could arm, until the arrival of the 
eleven hundred arms from Rhode Island, which are, about this 
time, at the place where our public stores are deposited. The 
whole force of the enemy within this State, from the best intel- 
ligence I have been able to get, is, I think, about seven thousand 
men, infantry and cavalry, including, also, the small garrison left 
at Portsmouth. A number of privateers, which are constantly 
avaging the shores of our rivers, prevent us from receiving any 


aid from the counties lying on navigable waters ; and powerful 
operations meditated against our western frontier, by a joint force 
of British and Indian savages, have, as your Excellency before 
knew, obliged us to embody between two and three thousand 
men in that quarter. Your Excellency will judge from this state 
of things, and from what you know of our country, what it may 
probably suffer during the present campaign. Should the enemy 
be able to produce no opportunity of annihilating the Marquis's 
army, a small proportion of their force may yet restrain his 
movements effectually while the greater part are employed, in 
detachment, to waste an unarmed country, and lead the minds 
of the people to acquiesce under those events which they see no 
human power prepared to ward off. We are too far removed 
from the other scenes of war to say, whether the main force of 
the enemy be within this State. But I suppose they cannot 
anywhere spare so great an army for the operations of the field. 
Were it possible for this circumstance to justify in your Excel- 
lency a determination to lend us your personal aid, it is evident, 
from the universal voice, that the presence of their beloved 
countryman, whose talents have so long been successfully em- 
ployed in establishing the freedom of kindred States, to whose 
person they have still nattered themselves they retained some 
right, and have ever looked up, as their dernier resort in distress, 
would restore full confidence of salvation to our citizens, and 
would render them equal to whatever is not impossible. I can- 
not undertake to foresee and obviate the difficulties which lie in 
the way of such a resolution. The whole subject is before you, 
of which I see only detatched parts ; and your judgment will 
be formed on a view of the whole. Should the danger of this 
State and its consequence to the Union, be such, as to render it 
best for the whole that you should repair to its assistance, the 
difficulty would then be, how to keep men out of the field. I 
have undertaken to hint this matter to your Excellency, not only 
on my own sense of its importance to us, but at the solicitations 
of many members of weight in our legislature, which has not 
yet assembled to speak their own desires. 


A few days will bring to me that relief which the constitution 
has prepared for those oppressed with the labors of my office, 
and a long declared resolution of relinquishing it to abler hand^, 
has prepared my way for retirement to a private station : still, as 
an individual, I should feel the comfortable effects of your 
presence, and have (what I thought could not have been) an ad- 
ditional motive for that gratitude, esteem, and respect, with 
which I have the honor to be, your Excellency's most obedient 
humble servant. 


MONTICELLO, August 4, 1781. 

SIR, I am much obliged by the trouble you took in forward- 
ing to me the letter of his Excellency, the President of Congress. 
It found me in Bedford, an hundred miles southward of this, 
where I was confined till within these few days, by an unfortu- 
nate fall from my horse. This has occasioned the delay of the 
answer which I now take the liberty of enclosing to you, as 
the confidential channel of conveyance, pointed out by the 

I thank you also for your kind sentiments and friendly offer 
on the occasion, which, that I cannot avail myself of, has given 
me more mortification than almost any occurrence of my life. 
I lose an opportunity, the only one I ever had, and perhaps ever 
shall have, of combining public service with private gratifica- 
tion. Of seeing countries whose improvements in science, in 
arts, and in civilization, it has been my fortune to admire at a 
distance, but never to see, and at the same time of lending some 
aid to a cause, which has been handed on from its first organiza- 
tion to its present stage, by every effort of which my poor facul- 
ties were capable. These, however, have not been such as to 
give satisfaction to some of my countrymen, and it has become 
necessary for me to remain in the State till a later period in the 
present year, than is consistent with an acceptance of what has 


been offered me.* Declining higher objects, therefore, my only 
one must be to show that suggestion and fact are different things, 
and that public misfortune may be produced as well by public 
poverty and private disobedience to the laws, as by the misconduct 
of public servants.t The independence of private life under the 
protection of republican laws will, I hope, yield me the happi- 
ness from which no slave is so remote as the minister of a com- 
monwealth. From motives of private esteem as well as public 
gratitude, I shall pray it to be your lot in every line of life, as no 
one can with more truth subscribe himself with the highest 
regard and respect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble 


MONTICELI.O, September 16, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, I have received your letter of the 7th instant. 
That, mentioned to have been sent by the preceding post, has 
not come to hand, nor two others, which Mrs. Randolph informs 
me you wrote before you left Virginia, nor indeed any others, 

[* On the 15th of June, 1781, Mr. Jefferson was appointed, with Mr. Adams, Dr. 
Franklin, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Lauren?, Minister Plenipotentiary for negotiating; peace, 
then expected to be effected through the mediation of the Empress of Russia ED.] 

[f In 1781, the depredations of the enemy, and the public and private losses which 
they oecasioned, produced the ordinary effect of complaint against those who had 
charge of the public defence, and especially against Mr Jefferson (the Governor of 
Virginia). A popular clamor was excited against him, and, under the impulses of 
the moment, Mr. George Nicholas, a member from Albermarle, moved his impeach- 

The charges were, 1. That he had not, as soon as advised by General Washington 
of the meditated invasion, put the country in a state of preparation and defence ; 2. 
That during the invasion, he did not use the means of resistance which were at his 
command; 3. That he too much consulted his personal safety, when Arnold first en- 
tered Richmond, by which others were dispirited and discouraged ; 4. That he iguo- 
rniniously fled from Monticello to the neighboring mountain on Tarleton's approach to 
Charlottesville ; and 5. That he abandoned the office of Governor as soon as it became 
one of difficulty and danger. 

Mr. Jefferson has been long since acquitted of these charges by the almost unani- 
mous voice of his countrymen. ED.] 


should you have been so kind as to have written any others. 
When I received the first letter from the President of Congress, 
enclosing their resolution, and mentioning the necessity of an ex- 
peditious departure, my determination to attend at the next session 
of the Assembly offered a ready and insuperable obstacle to my 
accepting of that appointment, and left me under no necessity 
of deliberating with myself whether, that objection being removed, 
any other considerations might prevent my undertaking it. I 
find there are many, and must, therefore, decline it altogether. 
Were it possible for me to determine again to enter into public 
business, there is no appointment whatever which would have 
been so agreeable to me. But I have taken my final leave of 
everything of that nature. I have retired to my farm, my family 
and books, from which I think nothing will evermore separate 
me. A desire to leave public office, with a reputation not more 
blotted than it has deserved, will oblige me to emerge at the next 
session of our Assembly, and perhaps to accept of a seat in it. 
But as I go with a single object, I shall withdraw when that shall 
be accomplished. I should have thought that North Carolina, 
rescued from the hands of Britain, Georgia and almost the whole 
of South Carolina recovered, would have been sufficiently humili- 
ating to induce them to treat with us. If this will ijot do, I hope 
the stroke is now hanging over them which will satisfy them 
that their views of Southern conquests are likely to be as visionary 
as those of Northern. I think it impossible Lord Cornwallis 
should escape. Mrs. Randolph will be able to give you all the 
news on this subject, as soon as you shall be able to release her 
from others. I am, with much esteem, dear Sir, your friend and 


MONTICELLO, October 28th, 1781. 

SIR, I hope it will not be unacceptable to your Excellency 
o receive the congratulations of a private individual on your re- 


turn to your native country, and, above all things, on the import- 
ant success which has attended it.* Great as this has been, 
however, it can scarcely add to the affection with which we have 
looked up to you. And if, in the minds of any, the motives of 
prratitude to our good allies were not sufficiently apparent, the 
part they have borne in this action must amply evince them. 
Notwithstanding the state of perpetual decrepitude to which I 
am unfortunately reduced, I should certainly have done myself 
the honor of paying my respects to you personally ; but I appre- 
hend these visits, which are meant by us as marks of our attach- 
ment to you, must interfere with the regulations of a camp, and 
be particularly inconvenient to one whose time is too precious to 
be wasted in ceremony. 

I beg you to believe me among the sincerest of those who 
subscribe themselves, your Excellency's most obedient, and most 
humble servant. 


RICHMOND, December ]4th, 1781. 

DEAR SIR, I have received your friendly letters of August 
2d and November 15th, and some of the gentlemen to whom 
you wished them to be communicated not being here, I have 
taken the liberty of handing them to some others, so as to an- 
swer the spirit of your wish. It seems likely to end, as I ever 
expected it would, in a final acknowledgment that good disposi- 
tions and arrangements will not do without a certain degree of 
bravery and discipline in those who are to carry them into exe- 
cution. This, the men whom you commanded, or the greater 
part of them at least, unfortunately wanted on that particular 

I have not a doubt but that, on a fair enquiry, the returning 
justice of your countrymen will remind them of Saratoga, and 
induce them to recognize your merits. My future plan of life 

[* The battle of Yorktown.] 


scarcely admits a hope of my having the pleasure of seeing you 
at your seat ; yet I assuredly shall do it should it ever lie within 
my power, and am assured that Mrs. Jefferson will join me in 
sincere thanks for your kind sentiments and invitation, and in 
expressions of equal esteem for Mrs. Gates and yourself, and in a 
certain hope that, should any circumstance lead you within our 
reach, you will make us happy by your company at Monticello. 
We have no news to communicate. That the Assembly does 
little, does not come under that description. 

I am, with very sincere esteem, dear sir, your friend and servant. 


MONTICELLO, March 24th, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, I have received from you two several favors, on 
the subject of the designs against the territorial rights of Vir- 
ginia.* 1 never before could comprehend on what principle our 
rights to the western country could be denied, which would not, 
at the same time, subvert the right of all the States to the whole 
of their territory. What objections may be founded on the char- 
ter of New York, I cannot say, having never seen that charter, 
nor been able to get a copy of it in this country. I had thought 
to have seized the first leisure on my return from the last Assem- 
bly, to have considered and stated our rights, and to have com- 
municated to our delegates, or perhaps to the public, so much as 
I could trace, and expected to have derived some assistance from 
ancient MSS., which I have been able to collect. These, with 
my other papers and books, however, had been removed to Au- 

[* The title of Virginia to the Northwestern territory was controverted, as early 
as 1779, by some of the other States, upon the ground that all lands, the title of 
which had originally been in the crown and had never been alienated, were the com- 
mon property of the Confederation, by right of conquest the revolution having 
transferred the title from the British sovereign to the Confederation. This view was 
resisted by Virginia in an able remonstrance to Congress in October, 1779. The 
question, however, never came to an issue ; for Virginia, moved by a patriotic im- 
pulse, and ready to sacrifice her individual interest to the general good, made a vol- 
untary cession of the whole territory to the Confederation.] 


gusta to be out of danger from the enemy, and have not yet been 
brought back. The ground on which I now find the question 
to be bottomed is so unknown to me that it is out of my power 
to say anything on the subject. Should it be practicable for me 
to procure a copy of the charter of New York, I shall probably 
think on it, and would cheerfully communicate to you whatever 
could occur to me worth your notice. But this will probably be 
much too late to be of any service before Congress, who doubt- 
less will decide, ere long, on the subject. I sincerely wish their 
decision may tend to the preservation of peace. If I am not 
totally deceived in the determination of this country, the decision 
of Congress, if unfavorable, will not close the question. I sup- 
pose some people on the western waters, who are ambitious to be 
Governors, &c., will urge a separation by authority of Congress. 
But the bulk of the people westward are already thrown into 
great ferment by the report of what is proposed, to which I think 
they will not submit. This separation is unacceptable to us in 
form only, and not in substance. On the contrary, I may safely 
say it is desired by the eastern part of our country whenever 
their western brethren shall think themselves able to stand alone. 
In the meantime, on the petition of the western counties, a plan 
is digesting for rendering their access to government more easy. 
I trouble you with the enclosed to Mons. Marbois. I had the 
pleasure of hearing that your father and family were all well 
yesterday, by your brother, who is about to study the law in my 
neighborhood. I shall always be glad to hear from you, and, if it 
be possible for me, retired from public business, to find anything 
worth your notice, I shall communicate it with great pleasure. 
I am with sincere esteem, dear Sir, your friend and servant. 


RICHMOND, llth of May, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, As I so lately wrote you by Mr. Short, and have 
since daily expected to see you here, I did not propose writing 


to you till after I should have that pleasure ; but as I begin to 
fear you will not abate that firmness and decision which you 
have frequently shown in the service of your country, even upon 
this occasion, and as I have had an opportunity since I last 
wrote of being better informed of the sentiments of those whom 
I know you put the greatest value on, I think it my duty to make 
you acquainted therewith. ' It is publicly said here, that the peo- 
ple of your country informed you that they had frequently elected 
you in times of less difficulty and danger than the present to 
please you ; but that now they had called you forth into public 
office to serve themselves. This is a language which has been 
often used in my presence ; and you will readily conceive that, 
as it furnishes those who argue on the fundamental maxims of 
a Republican government with ample field for declamation, the 
conclusion has always been, that you should not decline the 
service of your country. The present is generally conceived to 
be an important era, which, of course, makes your attendance 
particularly necessary. And as I have taken the liberty to give 
you the public opinion and desire upon this occasion, and as I 
am warmly interested in whatever concerns the public interest 
or has relation to you, it will be necessary to add, it is earnestly 
the desire of, dear Sir, 

Your sincere friend and obedient servant. 


MONTICELLO, May 20th, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, I have been gratified with your two favors of the 
6th and 1 1th inst. It gives me pleasure that your county has 
been wise enough to enlist your talent into their service. I am 
much obliged by the kind wishes you express of seeing me also 
in Richmond, and am always mortified when anything is ex- 
pected from me which I cannot fulfill, and more especially if it 
relate to the public service. Before I ventured to declare to my 


countrymen my determination to retire from public employment; 
I examined well my heart to know whether it were thoroughly 
cured of every principle of political ambition, whether no lurk- 
ing particle remained which might leave me uneasy, when re- 
duced within the limits of mere private life. I became satisfied 
that every fibre of that passion was thoroughly eradicated. I 
examined also, in other views, my right to withdraw. I consid- 
ered that I had been thirteen years engaged in public service 
that, during that time, I had so totally abandoned all attention to 
my private aifairs as to permit them to run into great disorder and 
ruin that I had now a family advanced to years which require 
my attention and instruction that, to these, was added the 
hopeful offspring of a deceased friend, whose memory must be 
forever dear to me, and who have no other reliance for being ren- 
dered useful to themselves or their country that by a constant sac- 
rifice of time, labor, parental and friendly duties, I had, so far 
from gaining the affection of my countrymen, which was the 
only reward I ever asked or could have felt, even lost the small 
estimation I had before possessed. 

That, however I might have comforted myself under the dis- 
.approbation of the well-meaning but uninformed people, yet, that 
of their representatives was a shock on which I had not calcu- 
lated. That this, indeed, had been followed by an exculpatory 
declaration. But, in the meantime, I had been suspected in the 
eyes of the world, without the least hint then or afterwards 
being made public, \vhich might restrain them from supposing 
that I stood arraigned for treason of the heart, and not merely 
Aveakness of the mind ; and I felt that these injuries, for such 
they have been since acknowledged, had inflicted a wound on 
my spirit which will only be cured by the all-healing grave. If 
reason and inclination unite in justifying my retirement, the laws 
of my country are equally in favor of it. Whether the State 
may command the political services of all its members to an in- 
definite extent, or, if these be among the rights never wholly 
ceded to the public power, is a question which I do not find ex- 
pressly decided in England. Obiter dictums on the subject I have 


indeed met with, but the complexion of the times in which 
these have dropped would generally answer them. Besides that, 
this species of authority is not acknowledged in our possession. 
In this country, however, since the present government has 
been established, the point has been settled by uniform, pointed 
and multiplied precedents. Offices of every kind, and given by 
every power, have been daily and hourly declined and resigned 
from the Declaration of Independence to this moment. The 
General Assembly has accepted these without discrimination of 
office, and without ever questioning them in point of right. If the 
difference between the office of a delegate and any other could 
ever have been supposed, yet in the case of Mr. Thompson 
Mason, who declined the office of delegate, and was permitted 
so to do by the House, that supposition has been proved to be 
groundless. But, indeed, no such distinction of offices can be 
admitted. Reason, and the opinions of the lawyers, putting all 
on a footing as to this question, and so giving to the delegate the 
aid of all the precedents of the refusal of other offices. The 
law then does not warrant the assumption of such a power by 
the State over its members. For if it does, where is that law ? 
nor yet does reason. For though I will admit that this does, 
subject every individual, if called on, to an equal tour of political 
duty, yet it can never go so far as to submit to it his whole ex- 
istence. If we are made in some degree for others, yet, in a 
greater, are we made for ourselves. It were contrary to feeling, 
and indeed ridiculous to suppose that a man had less rights in 
himself than one of his neighbors, or indeed all of them put to- 
gether. This would be slavery, and not that liberty which the 
bill of rights has made inviolable, and for the preservation of 
which our government has been charged. Nothing could so 
completely divest us of that liberty as the establishment of the 
opinion, that the State has a perpetual right to the services of all 
its members. This, to men of certain ways of thinking, would 
be to annihilate the blessings of existence, and to contradict the 
Giver of life, who gave it for happiness and not for wretch- 
edness. And certainly, to such it were better that they had 


never been born. However, with these, I may think public 
service and private misery inseparably linked together, I have 
not the vanity to count myself among those whom the State 
would think worth oppressing with perpetual service. I have 
received a sufficient memento to the contrary. I am persuaded 
that, having hitherto dedicated to them the whole of the active 
and useful part of my life, I shall be permitted to pass the rest 
in mental quiet. I hope, too, that I did not mistake modes any 
more than the matter of right when I preferred a simple act of 
renunciation, to the taking sanctuary under those disqualifica- 
tions (provided by the law for other purposes indeed but) aiford- 
ing asylum also for rest to the wearied. I dare say you did not 
expect by the few words you dropped on the right of renunciation 
to expose yourself to the fatigue of so long a letter, but I wished 
you to see that, if I had done wrong, I had been betrayed by a 
semblance of right at least. I take the liberty of enclosing to 
you a letter for General Chattellux, for which you will readily 
find means of conveyance. But I mean to give you more trou- 
ble with the one to Pelham, who lives in the neighborhood of 
Manchester, and to ask the favor of you to send it by your serv- 
ant express which I am in hopes may be done without ab- 
senting him from your person, but during those hours in which 
you will be engaged in the house. I am anxious that it should 
be received immediately. ****** It will give me 
great pleasure to see you here whenever you can favor us with 
your company. You will find me still busy, but in lighter occu- 
pations. But in these and all others you will find me to retain a due 
sense of your friendship, and to be, with sincere esteem, dear Sir, 
Your most obedient and most humble servant. 


CHESTERFIELD, November 26, 1782. 

SIR, I received yesterday the letter with which you have 
been pleased to honor me, enclosing the resolution of Congress 


of the 12th instant, renewing my appointment as one of their 
ministers plenipotentiary for negotiating a peace and beg 
leave, through you, to return my sincere thanks to that august 
body, for the confidence they are pleased to repose in me, and 
to tender the same to yourself for the obliging manner in 
which you have notified it.* I will employ in this ardu- 
ous charge, with diligence and integrity, the best of my poor 
talents, which I am conscious are far short of what it requires. 
This, I hope, will ensure to me from Congress a kind construc- 
tion of all rny transactions. And it gives me no small pleasure, 
that my communications will pass through the hands of a gen- 
tleman with whom I have acted in the earlier stages of this 
contest, and whose candor and discernment I had the good for- 
tune then to approve and esteem. Your letter finds me at a dis- 
tance from home, attending my family under inoculation. This 
will add to the delay which the arrangements of my particular 
affairs would necessarily occasion. I shall lose no moment, how- 
ever, in preparing for my departure, and shall hope to pay my 
respects to Congress and yourself at sometime between the 20th 
and the last of December. 

I have the honor to be, with very great esteem and respect, 
dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant. 


AMPHILL, November 26, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, I received your friendly letters of and June 

[* Mr. Jefferson's reasons for now accepting this appointment, which he had pre- 
viously declined, are thus explained by himself: " I had, about two months before, 
lost the cherished companion of my life [his wife], in whose affection, unabated on 
both sides, I had lived the last ten years in unchequered happiness." On the 19th 
of December, 1782, he left Monticello for Philadelphia, where he intended to embark 
for Europe ; but the French Minister Luzerne, offering him a passage in the French 
frigate Romulus, then lying below Baltimore, he accepted the offer. The sailing of 
this frigate being delayed by ice, and a British fleet on the coast, information, in the 
meantime, reached America that a provisional treaty of peace had been signed by the 
American Commissioners, to become absolute on the conclusion of peace between 
France and England On the arrival of this information, Mr. Jefferson was released 
from his mission, and returned to his home in Virginia on the 15th May, 1783. En.] 
VOL. I. 21 


30th, but the latter not till the 17th of October. It found me a 
little emerging from the stupor of mind which had rendered me 
as dead to the world as was she whose loss occasioned it.* Your 
letter recalled to my memory that there were persons still living 
of much value to me. If you should have thought me remiss 
in not testifying to you sooner, how deeply I had been impressed 
with your worth in the little time I had the happiness of being 
with you, you will, I am sure, ascribe it to its true cause, the 
state of dreadful suspense in which I have been kept all the 
summer, and the catastrophe which closed it. 

Before that event, my scheme of life had been determined. I 
had folded myself in the arms of retirement, and rested all 
prospects of future happiness on domestic and literary objects. 
A single event wiped away all my plans, and left me a blank 
which I had not the spirits to fill up. In this state of mind an 
appointment from Congress found me, requiring me to cross the 
Atlantic. And that temptation might be added to duty, I was 
informed, at the same time, from his Excellency the Chevalier de 
Luzerne, that a vessel of force would be sailing about the mid- 
dle of December in which you would be passing to France. I 
accepted the appointment, and my only object now is, to so has- 
ten over those obstacles which would retard my departure, as to 
be ready to join you in your voyage fondly measuring your 
affection by my own, and presuming your consent. It is not 
certain that I can, by any exertion, be in Philadelphia by the 
middle of December the contrary is most probable. But hop- 
ing it will not be much later, and counting on those procrastina- 
tions which usually attend the departure of vessels of size, I 
have hopes of being with you in time. This will give me full 
leisure to learn the result of your observations on the natural 
bridge, to communicate to you my answers to the enquiries of 
Monsieur de Marbois, to receive edification from you on these 
and other subjects of science ; considering chess, too, as a mat- 
ter of science. Should I be able to get out in tolerable time, 

[* The death of Mrs. Jefferson.] 


and any extraordinary delays attend the sailing of the vessel, I 
shall certainly do myself the honor of waiting on his Excellency 
the Count de Rochambeau, at his head-quarters, and assuring 
him in person of my high respect and esteem for him an object 
of which I have never lost sight. To yourself, I am unable to 
express the warmth of those sentiments of friendship and at- 
tachment with which I have the honour to be, dear Sir, 

Your most obedient and most humble servant. 


November 26, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, I received in August your favor, wherein you 
give me hopes of being able to procure for me some of the big 
bones. I should be unfaithful to my own feeling, were I not to 
express to you how much I am obliged by your attention to the 
requests I made you on that subject. A specimen of each of 
the several species of bones now to be found, is to me the most 
desirable objects in natural history. And there is no expense of 
package or of safe transportation which I will not gladly re- 
imburse, to procure them safely. Elk horns of very extraor- 
dinary size, or anything else uncommon, would be very accepta- 
ble. You will hear of my going to Europe, but my trip there 
will be short. I mention this, lest you should hesitate forward- 
ing any curiosities to me. New London in Bedford, Staunton 
in Augusta, or Frederick County, are places from whence I can 
surely get them. Any observations of your own on the subject 
of the big bones or their history, or on anything else in the 
western country, will come acceptably to me, because I know 
you see the works of nature in the great and not merely in de- 
tail. Descriptions of animals, vegetables, minerals, or other curi- 
ous things ; notes as to the Indians' information of the country 
between the Mississippi and waters of the South Sea, &c., &c., 
will strike your mind as worthy being communicated. I wish 
you had more time to pay attention to them. I perceive by 
your letter, you are not unapprized that your services to your 


country have not made due impression on every mind. That 
you have enemies, you must not doubt, when you reflect that 
you have made yourself eminent. If you meant to escape 
malice, you should have confined yourself within the sleepy line 
of regular duty. When you transgressed this, and enterprised 
deeds which will hand down your name with honor to future 
times, you made yourself a mark for envy and malice to shoot 
at. Of these there is enough, you know, both in and out of 
office. I was not a little surprised, however, to find one person 
hostile to you, as far as he has personal courage to show hostility 
to any man. Who he is, you will probably have heard, or may 
know him by this description as being all tongue without either 
head or heart. In the variety of his crooked schemes, however, 
his interest may probably veer about, so as to put it in your 
power to be useful to him. In which case, he certainly will be 
your friend again, if you want him. That you may long con- 
tinue a fit object for his enmity, and for that of every person of 
his complexion in the State, which I know can only be by your 
continuing to do good to your country and to acquire honor to 
yourself, is the earnest prayer of one who subscribes himself, 
with great truth and sincerity, dear Sir, 

Your friend and servant. 


AMPHILL, IN CHESTERFIELD, November 26th, 1782. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor by Colonel Basset is not yet come to 
hand. The intimation through the attorney, I received the day 
before Colonel Eland's arrival, by whom I am honored with 
yours of the 14th inst. It finds me at this place attending my 
family under inoculation. This will of course retard those ar- 
rangements of my domestic affairs, which will of themselves take 
time and cannot be made but at home. I shall lose no time, 
however, in preparing for my departure. And from the calcula- 
tion I am at present enabled to make, I suppose I cannot be in 


Philadelphia before the 20th of December, and that possibly it 
may be the last of that month. Some days I must certainly pass 
there, as I could not propose to jump into the midst of a negotia- 
tion without a single article of previous information. From these 
data, you will be enabled to judge of the chance of availing my- 
self of his Excellency, the Chevalier de Luzerne's, kind offers, to 
whom I beg you to present my thanks for his friendly attention, 
and let him know I shall use my best endeavors to be in time for 
the departure of his frigate. No circumstances of a private na- 
ture could induce me to hasten over the several obstacles to my 
departure more unremitting than the hope of having the Chevalier 
de Chattellux as a companion in my voyage. A previous ac- 
quaintance with his worth and abilities, had impressed me with 
an affection for him which, under the then prospect of never 
seeing him again, was perhaps imprudent. 

I am with very sincere esteem, dear Sir, your very affectionate 
friend, and humble servant. 


PHILADELPHIA, January 22d, 1783. 

SIR, Having lately received a call from Congress to pass the 
Atlantic in the character of their minister for negotiating peace, 
I cannot leave the continent without separating myself for a 
moment from the general gratitude of my country, to offer my 
individual tribute to your Excellency for all you have suffered 
and all you have effected for us. Were I to indulge myself in 
those warm effusions which this subject forever prompts, they 
would wear an appearance of adulation very foreign to my 
nature ; for such is become the prostitution of language that 
sincerity has no longer distinct terms in which to express her 
own truths. Should you give me occasion, during the short 
mission on which I go, to render you any service beyond the 
water, I shall, for a proof of my gratitude, appeal from language 
o the zeal with which I shall embrace it. The negotiations to 


which I am joined may perhaps be protracted beyond our present 
expectations, in which case, though I know you must receive 
much better intelligence from the gentlemen whose residence 
there has brought them into a more intimate acquaintance with 
the characters and views of the European courts, yet I shall 
certainly presume to add my mite, should it only serve to con- 
vince you of the warmth of those sentiments of respect and 
esteem with which I have the honor to be, your Excellency's 
most obedient, and most humble servant. 


BALTIMORE, February 7th, 1783. 

SIR, The Chevalier de Ville Brun was so kind as to commu- 
nicate to me yesterday your Excellency's letter to him of Jan- 
uary, together with the intelligence therein referred to. I feel 
myself bound to return you my thanks, for your orders to the 
Guadeloupe frigate to receive me, if I should think a passage 
should be hazarded under present circumstances. According to 
this information (which is the most worthy of credit of any we 
have received here), it would seem that our capture would be un- 
avoidable were we to go out now. This, therefore, is a risk to 
which I cannot think of exposing his Majesty's vessel and sub- 
jects ; however I might be disposed to encounter personal haz- 
zards, from my anxiety to execute, with all the promptitude in 
my power, a service which has been assigned to me. I shall 
therefore wait with patience the arrival oi the moment when the 
Chevalier de Ville Brun shall be of opinion that the one or the 
other of the vessels may venture out without any greater risk 
than he shall think proportioned to her proper object, indepen- 
dently of mine. It has been suggested to me this evening, that 
perhaps their safe departure might be greatly forwarded by their 
falling down to York, or Hampton, there to be ready at a mo- 
ment's warning, to avail themselves of those favorable circum- 
stances which the present season sometimes offers. 


But of this, yourself will be the proper judge. I cannot close my 
letter without expressing to you my obligations to the Chevalier 
de Ville Brun for the particular attention he has shown to my 
accommodation on board his ship. The apartments he has had 
constructed for me are ample and commodious, and his politeness 
and deportment as an officer are an agreeable presage of every- 
thing that shall depend on him. I have delivered to him the 
two large packets you were pleased to put into my hands, and 
he will dispose of them according to your orders. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest sentiments of esteem, 
your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant. 


BALTIMORE, February 7, 1783. 

SIR, I arrived here on the 30th of the last month, and had a 
short interview the same evening with the Chevalier de Ville 
Brun, commander of the Ramilies. There appeared at that time 
little apprehension but that we might sail in a few days, but we 
were not very particular in our conference, as we expected to see 
each other again. The severity of the cold, however, which 
commenced that night, obliged the Chevalier de Ville Brun to 
fall twelve miles below this place, and excluded all correspon- 
dence with him till yesterday, when I found means to get through 
the ice on board his ship. He then communicated to me, by 
direction of his Excellency, the minister of France, intelligence 
as to the number and force of the cruisers now actually watching 
the capes of the Chesapeake. I must acknowledge that the ap- 
pearances are such as to render a capture certain were we to 
hazard it. The minister was pleased at the same time to submit 
the Guadeloupe to my wishes, if I chose to adventure. I take 
the liberty of troubling you with a copy of my letter to him on 
that subject. I should certainly be disposed to run very con- 
siderable risks myself to effect my passage ; but should think it 
an unfortunate introduction to an ally, who has already done so 


much for us, were I to add to his losses and disbursements that 
of a valuable ship and crew. I wish that the present delay 
offered some period less distant than the lassitude of an avaricious 
enemy to watch for prey. Perhaps you may be able to put me 
on some more expeditious mode of passage than the one under 
which I am acquiescing at present. I shall be much pleased to 
adopt any such which may come recommended from you, with- 
out regard to personal risk or trouble. In the meantime, any in- 
telligence which you can collect and will be pleased to give me 
as to the state of our coast, will be of utility in determining 
whether and when we shall depart hence. 

I have the honor to be with very great esteem and respect. Sir, 
your most obedient and most humble servant. 

P. S. Your letter of the 31st ultimo came safely to hand 
v th the packet to Mr. Adams accompanying it. 


NEWBURGH, 10th February, 1783. 

DEAR SIR, I have been honored with your favor of 22d of 
January from Philadelphia. I feel myself much flattered by 
your kind remembrance of me in the hour of your departure 
from this continent, for the favorable sentiments you are pleased 
to entertain of my services for this our common country. To 
merit the approbation of good and virtuous men is the height of 
my ambition, and will be a full compensation for all my toils 
and sufferings in the long and painful contest in which we have 
been engaged. It gave me great pleasure to hear that the call 
upon you from Congress to pass the Atlantic in the character of 
one of their ministers for negotiating peace had been repeated ; 
but I hope you will have found the business already done. The 
speech of his Britannic Majesty is strongly indicative of the olive 
branch ; and yet, as he observes, unforseen events may place it 


out of reach. At present, the prospect of peace absorbs, or 
seems to do so, every other consideration among us ; and would, 
it is to be feared, leave us in a very unprepared state to continue 
the war, if the negotiations at Paris should terminate otherwise 
than in a general pacification. But I will hope that it is the 
dearth of other news that fills the mouths of every person with 
peace, while their minds are employed in contemplating on the 
means of prosecuting the war, if necessity should drive us to it. 
You will please to accept my grateful thanks for your obliging 
offer of services during your stay in France. To hear from you 
frequently will be an honor and very great satisfaction to, dear 
Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant. 


PHILADELPHIA, 14th February, 1783. 

SIR, I have delayed in answering your favor of the 
7th instant until I could obtain the sense of Congress on the 
matter it contains. I conceive it hardly possible, while the 
British cruisers retain their present station, for you to elude their 
vigilance in either of the ships offered to your choice. This, 
concurring with the late advices from England, has induced 
Congress to pass the enclosed resolution.* We have reason to 
conjecture that peace is already concluded ; whether it is or not, 
a few days will determine. I transmit the speech of his Britannic 
Majesty, which, with what you already know of the state of our 
negotiations, will enable you to form your opinion on the same 


February 14, 1783. 

The committee consisting of Mr. Jones, Mr. Rutledge, and Mr. Wilson, to whom 
was referred a letter of the 7th from the Honorable Thomas Jefferson, reported 
thereon, whereupon on motion of Mr. Gorham, seconded by Mr. Wolcott, ordered : 
That the Secretary for Foreign Affairs inform Mr. Jefferson, that it is the pleasure 
of Congress, considering the advices lately received in America and the probable 
situation of affairs in Europe, that he do not proceed on his intended voyage until 
he shall receive their further instructions. CHARLES THOMPSON, (copied) 



ground that we do. I have the honor to be, Sir, with great 
respect and esteem, your most obedient, and most humble servant. 


BALTIMORE, February 14, 1783. 

SIR, I apprised you in my former letter of the causes which 
had so long delayed my departure. These still continue. I have 
this moment received a printed copy of his British Majesty's 
speech to his Parliament, by which we learn that the prelimina- 
ries between Great Britain and America, among which is one for 
the acknowledgment of our independence, have been provisionally 
agreed to on his part. That the negotiations with the other pow- 
ers at war were considerably advanced, and that he hoped, in a 
very short time, they would end in terms of pacification. As 
considerable progress has been made in the negotiations for 
peace since the appointment with which Congress were pleased 
to honor me, it may have become doubtful whether any commu- 
nications I could make or any assistance I could yield to the very 
able gentlemen in whose hands the business already is, would 
compensate the expense of prosecuting my voyage to Europe. 
I therefore beg leave through you, Sir, to assure Congress that I 
desire this question to be as open to them now as it was on the 
day of my appointment, and that I have not a wish either to go 
or to stay. They will be pleased to weigh the economy of the 
one measure against the chance which the other may offer of my 
arriving in such time as that any communications which have 
been confided to me may produce effect on definitive articles. 
I shall continue here for the prosecution of my voyage, under the 
orders before received, or for its discontinuance, should that be 
more eligible to Congress, and be signified at any moment before 
my departure. I have the honor to be, &c. 



PHILADELPHIA, February 18, 1783. 

SIR, I was yesterday honored with your favor of the 14th, 
which I shall lay before Congress this morning. As you have 
by this time received their resolution which I had the honor to 
send you by the last post, and again enclosed, you will be re- 
lieved in some measure from your embarrassments, though not 
entirely of your suspense with respect to their final determination. 
But that cannot be long doubtful, since the negotiations have 
certainly arrived at such a crisis as either to terminate soon in a 
peace or a total rupture. In the latter case, you will necessarily 
be obliged to proceed on your voyage, as Congress seems anxious 
to avail themselves of your abilities and information in the ne- 
gotiations, unless they are fully assured that a speedy peace will 
preclude them from that advantage. 

I enclose a paper which contains all that we have yet received 
on that interesting subject. It may, perhaps, be difficult to ac- 
count for our ministers having signed before those of France. 
But if this letter is genuine, it serves, when compared with their 
instructions, to prove that the terms of peace are acceptable to 
us and not disagreeable to France. I have the honor to be, Sir, 
with great respect and esteem, your most obedient, and most 
humble servant. 


PHILADELPHIA, March 13, 1783. 

SIR, Supposing the despatches received by the Washington, 
may have enabled Congress to decide on the expediency of con- 
tinuing, or of countermanding my mission to Europe, I take the 
liberty of expressing to you the satisfaction it will give me to 


receive their ultimate will, so soon as other business will permit 
them to revert to this subject.* I have the honor, &c. 


PHILADELPHIA, April 11, 1*783. 

DEAR SIR, In a letter which I did myself the honor of writ- 
ing to you by the Chevalier de Chattellux, I informed you of my 
being at this place, with the intention of joining you in Paris. 
But the uncommon vigilance of the enemy's cruisers, imme- 
diately after the departure of the French fleet, deterred every 
vessel from attempting to go out. The arrival of the prelimi- 
naries soon after showed the impropriety of my proceeding, and 
I am just now setting out on my return to Virginia. I cannot, 
however, take my departure, without paying to yourself and 
your worthy colleague my homage for the good work you have 
completed for us, and congratulating you on the singular happi- 
ness of having borne so distinguished a part both in the earliest 
and latest transactions of this revolution. The terms obtained 
for us are indeed great, and are so deemed by your country a 
few ill-designing debtors excepted. I am in hopes you will con- 
tinue at some one of the European courts most agreeable to 
yourself, that we may still have the benefit of your talents. I 
took the liberty in my letter of suggesting a wish that you would 

[*The following resolution was passed by Congress relative to Mr. Jefferson's 
mission to Europe. ED.] 


April 1st, 1783. 

Resolved, That tlae Secretary for Foreign Affairs inform the Hon. Thomas Jefferson, 
in answer to his letter of the 13th of March, that Congress consider the object of his 
appointment so far advanced as to render it unnecessary for him to pursue his voyage, 
and that Congress are well satisfied with the readiness he has shown in undertaking 
& service which from the present situation of affairs they apprehend can be dispensed 
*rith. Extracts from the minutes, 


Secretary. 9 


be so kind as to engage lodgings for me. Should you have given 
yourself this trouble, I beg leave to return you my thanks, and 
to ask the favor of you to communicate the amount of their hire 
to Mr. Robert Morris, of this city, who will immediately remit 
it to you, as I lodge money in his hands for this purpose. Accept 
my warmest wishes for your happiness, and be assured of the 
sincerity with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most 
obedient, and most humble servant. 

P. S. I beg to be affectionately remembered to Dr. F. and Mr. 

A., if they be still with you. 


ANNAPOLIS, April 16, 1784. 

DEAR SIR, I received your favor of April 8th, by Colonel 
Harrison. The subject of it is interesting, and, so far as you 
have stood connected with it, has been matter of anxiety to me ; 
because, whatever may be the ultimate fate of the institution of 
the Cincinnati, in its course, it draws to it some degree of dis- 
approbation, I have wished to see you standing on ground 
separated from it, and that the character which will be handed 
to future ages at the head of our Revolution, may, in no in- 
stance, be compromitted in subordinate altercations. The sub- 
ject has been at the point of my pen in every letter I have writ- 
ten to you. but has been still restrained by the reflection that 
you had among your friends more able counsellors, and, in 
yourself, one abler than them all. Your letter has now ren- 
dered a duty what was before a desire, and I cannot better merit 
your confidence than by a full and free communication of facts 
and sentiments, as far as they have come within my observa- 
tion.' When the army was about to be disbanded, and the offi- 
cers to take final leave, perhaps never again to meet, it was na- 
tural for men who had accompanied each other through so many 
scenes of hardship, of difficulty, and danger, who, in a variety 


of instances, must have been rendered mutually dear by those 
aids and good offices, to which their situations had given occa- 
sion ; it was natural, I say, for these to seize with fondness any 
proposition which promised to bring them together again, at cer- 
tain and regular periods. And this, I take for granted, was the 
origin and object of this* institution ; and I have no suspicion 
that they foresaw, much less intended, those mischiefs which 
exist, perhaps in the forebodings of politicians only. I doubt, 
however, whether, in its execution, it would be found to answer 
the wishes of those who framed it, and to foster those friend- 
ships it was intended to -preserve. The members would be 
brought together at their annual assemblies, no longer to en- 
counter a common enemy, but to encounter one another in de- 
bate and sentiment. For something, I suppose, is to be done 
at these meetings, and, however unimportant, it will suffice to 
produce difference of opinion, contradiction and irritation. The 
way to make friends quarrel is to put them in disputation under 
the public eye. An experience of near twenty years has taught 
me, that few friendships stand this test, and that public assem- 
blies, where every one is free to act and speak, are the most 
powerful looseners of the bands of private friendship. I think, 
therefore, that this institution would fail in its principal object, 
the perpetuation of the personal friendships contracted through 
the war. 

The objections of those who are opposed to the institution 
shall be briefly sketched. You will readily fill them up. They 
urge that it is against the Confederation against the letter of 
some of our constitutions against the spirit of all of them ; 
that the foundation on which all these are built, is the natural 
equality of man, the denial of every pre-eminence but that an- 
nexed to legal office, and, particularly, the denial of a pre-emi- 
nence by birth ; that, however, in their present dispositions, 
citizens might decline accepting honorary instalments into the 
order, a time may come, when a change of dispositions would 
render these flattering, when a well-directed distribution of 
them might draw into the order all the men of talents, of 


office and wealth, and in this case, would probably procure an 
ingraftment into the government ; that in this, they will be sup- 
ported by their foreign members, and the wishes and influence 
of foreign courts ; that experience has shown that the heredi- 
tary branches of modern governments are the patrons of privilege 
and prerogative, and not of the natural rights of the people, 
whose oppressors they generally are ; that, besides these evils, 
which are remote, others may take place more immediately ; 
that a distinction is kept up between the civil and military, 
which it is for the happiness of both to obliterate ; that when 
the members assemble they will be proposing to do something, 
and what that something may be, will depend on actual circum- 
stances ; that being an organized body, under habits of subor- 
dination, the first obstruction to enterprize will be already sur- 
mounted ; that the moderation and virtue of a single character 
have probably prevented this Revolution from being closed, as 
most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was in- 
tended to establish ; that he is not immortal, and his successor, 
or some of his successors, may be led by false calculation into a 
less certain road to glory. 

What are the sentiments of Congress on this subject, and 
what line they will pursue, can only be stated conjecturally. 
Congress, as a body, if left to themselves, will, in my opinion, 
say nothing on the subject. They may, however, be forced 
into a declaration by instructions from some of the States, or by 
other incidents. Their sentiments, if forced from them, will 
be unfriendly to the institution. If permitted to pursue their 
own path, they will check it by side-blows whenever it comes 
in their way, and in competitions for office, on equal or nearly 
equal ground, will give silent preferences to those who are not 
of the fraternity. My reasons for thinking this are, 1. The 
grounds on which they lately declined the foreign order pro- 
posed to be conferred on some of our citizens. 2. The fourth 
of the fundamental articles of constitution for the new States. 
I enclose you the report ; it has been considered by Congress, 
recommitted and reformed by a committee, according to senti- 


ments expressed on other parts of it, but the principle referred 
to, having not been controverted at all, stands in this as in the 
original report ; it is not vet confirmed by Congress. 3. Private 
conversations on this subject with the members. Since the re- 
ceipt of your letter, 1 have taken occasion to extend these ; not, 
indeed, to the military members, because, being of the order, 
delicacy forbade it, but to the others pretty generally ; and 
among these, I have as yet found but one who is not opposed to 
the institution, and that with an anguish of mind, though cover- 
ed under a guarded silence, which I have not seen produced by 
any circumstance before. I arrived at Philadelphia before the 
separation of the last Congress, and saw there and at Princeton 
some of its members, not now in delegation. Burke's piece hap- 
pened to come out at that time, which occasioned this institu- 
tion to be the subject of conversation. I found the same im- 
pressions made on them which their successors have received. 
I hear from other quarters that it is disagreeable, generally, to 
such citizens as have attended to it, and, therefore, will probably 
be so to all, when any circumstance shall present it to the notice 
of all. 

This, Sir, is as faithful an account of sentiments and facts as 
I am able to give you. You know the extent of the circle 
within which my observations are at present circumscribed, and 
can estimate how far, as forming a part of the general opinion, 
it may merit notice, or ought to influence your particular con- 

It remains now to pay obedience to that part of your letter, 
which requests sentiments on the most eligible measures to be 
pursued by the society, at their next meeting. I must be far 
from pretending to be a judge of what would, in fact, be the 
most eligible measures for the society. I can only give you the 
opinions of those with whom I have conversed, and who, as I 
have before observed, are unfriendly to it. They lead to these 
conclusions : 1. If the society proceed according to its institu- 
tion, it will be better to make no applications to Congress on 
that subject, or any other, in their associated character. 2. If 


they should propose to modify it, so as to render it unobjection- 
able, I think this would not be effected without such a modifi- 
cation as would amount almost to annihilation ; for such would it 
be to part with its inheritability, its organization, and its assem- 
blies. 3. If they shall be disposed to discontinue the whole, 
it would remain with them to determine whether they would 
choose it to be done by their own act only, or by a reference of 
the matter to Congress, which would infallibly produce a re- 
commendation of total discontinuance. 

You will be sensible, Sir, that these communications are 
without reserve. I supposed such to be your wish, and mean 
them but as materials, with such others as you may collect, for 
your better judgment to work on. I consider the whole matter 
as between ourselves alone ; having determined to take no active 
part in this or anything else, which may lead to altercation, or 
disturb that quiet and tranquillity of mind, to which I consign 
the remaining portion of my life. I have been thrown back by 
events, on a stage where I had never more thought to appear.* 
It is but for a time, however, and as a day laborer, free to with- 
draw, or be withdrawn at will. While I remain, I shall pursue 
in silence the path of right, but in every situation, public or pri- 
vate, I shall be gratified by all occasions of rendering you ser- 
vice, and of convincing you there is no one to whom your repu- 
tation and happiness are dearer than to, Sir, 

Your most obedient, and most humble servant. 

[* Mr. Jefferson being released from his mission to Europe on account of the 
news of peace, and having returned to Virginia, was again appointed by the Legisla- 
ture a delegate to Congress on the 6th of June, 1783. On the 3d of the following 
November he arrived at Trenton, where Congress was then sitting, and took his seat 
on the 4th, on which day that body adjourned to meet at Annapolis on the 26th. Mr. 
Jefferson remained in the discharge of his duties as a delegate until the 7th of Mfiy, 
1784, when Congress, having determined to add a third minister plenipotentiary to 
Mr. Adams and Dr. Franklin, conferred the appointment on him. On the 6th of 
August, 1784, he reached Paris. The purpose for which he had been associated with 
Mr. Adams and Dr. Franklin was to negotiate commercial treaties with the European 
nations. In June, 1785, Mr. Adams removed to London as. our minister at that 
court, and Dr. Franklin obtained permission to return to America, thus leaving Mr. 
Jefferson our only representative at Paris in the character of minister plenipotentiary. 
Here he remained until the 26th of September, 1789, something more than five 
years, when he took leave of Paris, and landed at Norfolk in the latter part of 
November. ED.] 22 




PARIS, CUL-DE-SAC TETEBOUT, October 20th, 1784. 

SIR, I received yesterday your favor of the 8th instant, and 
this morning went to Auteuil and Passy, to consult with Mr. 
Adams and Dr. Franklin on the subject of it. We conferred 
together, and think it is a case in which we could not interpose 
(were there as yet cause for interposition), without express in- 
structions from Congress. It is, however, our private opinion, 
which we give as individuals only, that Mr. McLanahan, while 
in England, is subject to the laws of England ; that, therefore, 
he must employ counsel, and be guided in his defence by their 
advice. The law of nations, and the treaty of peace, as making 
a part of the law of the land, will undoubtedly be under the 
consideration of the judges who pronounce on Mr. McLanahan's 
case ; and we are willing to hope, that in their knowledge and 
integrity, he will find certain resources against injustice, and a 
reparation of all injury to which he may have been groundlessly 
exposed. A final and palpable failure on their part, which we 
have no reason to apprehend, might make the case proper for the 
consideration of Congress. 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of great respect and 
esteem, for Mr. McLanahan, as well as yourself, Sir, your most 
obedient humble servant. 



PARIS, May llth, 1785. 

SIR, I was honored, on the 2d instant, with the receipt of 
your favor of March the 15th, enclosing the resolution of Con- 
gress of the 10th of the same month, appointing me their Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary at this court, and also of your second letter 
of March 22d, covering the commission and letter of credence 
for that appointment. I beg permission through you, Sir, to 
testify to Congress my gratitude for this new mark of their favor, 
and my assurance of endeavoring to merit it by a faithful atten- 
tion to the discharge of the duties annexed to it. Fervent zeal 
is all which I can be sure of carrying into their service, and, 
where I fail through a want of those powers which nature and 
circumstances deny me, I shall rely on their indulgence, and 
much also on that candor with which your goodness will present 
my proceedings to their eye. The kind terms in which you are 
pleased to notify this honor to me, require my sincere thanks. I 
beg you to accept them, and to be assured of the perfect esteem, 
with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and 
most humble servant, 


PARIS, June 7th, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I have been honored with the receipt of your 
letter of the 2d instant, and am to thank you, as I do sincerely, 
for the partiality with which you receive the copy of the Notes 
on my country. As I can answer for the facts, therein reported, 
on my own observation, and have admitted none on the report 
of others, which were not supported by evidence sufficient to 
command my own assent, I am not afraid that you should make 
any extracts you please for the Journal de Physique, which come 
within their plan of publication. The strictures on slavery and 


on the constitution of Virginia, are not of that kind, and they 
are the parts which I do not wish to have made public, at least 
till I know whether their publication would do most harm or 
good. It is possible, that in my own country, these strictures 
might produce an irritation, which would indispose the people 
towards the two great objects I have in view ; that is, the eman- 
cipation of their slaves, and the settlement of their constitution 
on a firmer and more permanent basis. If I learn from thence, 
that they will not produce that effect, I have printed and re- 
served just copies enough to be able to give one to every young 
man at the College. It is to them I look, to the rising genera- 
tion, and not to the one now in power, for these great reforma- 
tions. The other copy, delivered at your hotel, was for Monsieur 
de Buffon. I meant to ask the favor of you to have it sent to 
him, as I was ignorant how to do it. I have one also for Mon- 
sieur Daubenton, but being utterly unknown to him, I cannot 
take the liberty of presenting it, till I can do it through some 
common acquaintance. 

I will beg leave to say here a few words on the general ques- 
tion of the degeneracy of animals in America. 1. As to the 
degeneracy of the man of Europe transplanted to America, it is 
no part of Monsieur de Buffon's system. He goes, indeed, within 
one step of it, but he stops there. The Abbe Raynal alone has 
taken that step. Your knowledge of America enables you to 
judge this question, to say, whether the lower class of people in 
America are less informed and less susceptible of information, 
than the lower class in Europe ; and whether those in America, 
who have received such an education as that country can give, 
are less improved by it than Europeans of the same degree of 
education. 2. As to the aboriginal man of America, I know of 
no respectable evidence on which the opinion of his inferiority 
of genius has been founded, but that of Don Ulloa. As to Ro- 
bertson, he never was in America, he relates nothing on his own 
knowledge, he is a compiler only of the relations of others, and 
a mere translator of the opinions of Monsieur de Buffon. I 
should as soon, therefore, add the translators of Robertson to the 


witnesses of this fact, as himself. Paw, the beginner of this 
charge, was a compiler from the works of others ; and of the 
most unlucky description ; for he seems to have read the writings 
of travellers, only to collect and republish their lies. It is really 
remarkable, that in three volumes 12mo, of small print, it is 
scarcely possible to find one truth, and yet, that the author should 
be able to produce authority for every fact he states, as he says he 
can. Don Ulloa's testimony is the most respectable. He wrote 
of what he saw, but he saw the Indian of South America only, and 
that after he had passed through ten generations of slavery. It 
is very unfair, from this sample, to judge of the natural genius 
of this race of men ; and, after supposing that Don Ulloa had not 
sufficiently calculated the allowance which should be made for 
this circumstance, we do him no injury in considering the picture 
he draws of the present Indians of South America, as no picture 
of what their ancestors were three hundred years ago. It is in 
North America we are to seek their original character. And I 
am safe in affirming, that the proofs of genius given by the 
Indians of North America place them on a level with whites in 
the same uncultivated state. The North of Europe furnishes 
subjects enough for comparison with them, and for a proof of 
their equality. I have seen some thousands myself, and con- 
versed much with them, and have found in them a masculine, 
sound understanding. I have had much information from men 
who had lived among them, and whose veracity and good sense 
were so far known to me, as to establish a reliance on their in- 
formation. They have all agreed in bearing witness in favor of 
the genius of this people. As to their bodily strength, their 
manners rendering it disgraceful to labor, those muscles em- 
ployed in labor will be weaker with them, than with the Euro- 
pean laborer ; but those which are exerted in the chase, and 
those faculties which are employed in the tracing an enemy or a 
wild beast, in contriving ambuscades for him, and in carrying 
them through their execution, are much stronger than with us, 
because they are more exercised. I believe the Indian, then, to 
be, in body and mind, equal to the white man. I have supposed 


the black man, in his present state, might not be so ; but it would 
be hazardous to affirm, that, equally cultivated for a few genera- 
tions, he would not become so. 3. As to the inferiority of the 
other animals of America, without more facts, I can add nothing 
to what I have said in my Notes. 

As to the theory of Monsieur de Buffon, that heat is friendly, 
and moisture adverse to the production of large animals, I am 
lately furnished with a fact by Dr. Franklin, which proves the 
air of London and of Paris to be more humid than that of Phil- 
adelphia, and so creates a suspicion that the opinion of the supe- 
rior humidity of America may, perhaps, have been too hastily 
adopted. And, supposing that fact admitted, I think the physical 
reasonings urged to show, that in a moist country animals must 
be small, and that in a hot one they must be large, are not built 
on the basis of experiment. These questions, however, cannot 
be decided, ultimately, at this day. More facts must be collect- 
ed, and more time flow off, before the world will be ripe for de- 
cision. In the meantime, doubt is wisdom. 

I have been fully sensible of the anxieties of your situation, 
and that your attentions were wholly consecrated, where alone 
they were wholly due, to the succor of friendship and worth. 
However much I prize your society, I wait with patience the 
moment when I can have it without taking what is due to an- 
other. In the meantime, I am solaced with the hope of possess- 
ing your friendship, and that it is not ungrateful to you to re- 
ceive assurances of that with which I have the honor to be, 
dear Sir, 

Your most obedient, and most humble servant. 



PARIS, June 16, 1785. 

SIR, I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency some 
propositions which have been made from London to the Farmers 
General, to furnish them with the tobaccos of Maryland and 
Virginia. For this paper, I am indebted to the zeal of the M. 
de La Fayette. I take the liberty of troubling you with it on a 
supposition that it may be possible to have this article furnished 
from those States to this country immediately without its pass- 
ing through the entrepot of London, and the returns for it being 
made, of course, in London merchandise. Twenty thousand 
hogsheads of tobacco a year delivered here in exchange for the 
produce and manufacture of this country, many of which are as 
good and cheaper than in England, would establish a rivalship 
for our commerce which would have happy effects upon both 
countries. Whether this end will be best effected by giving out 
these propositions to OUT merchants and exciting them to become 
candidates with the Farmers General for this contract, or by any 
other means, your Excellency can best judge. I shall mention 
this matter also to the Governor of Virginia. The other paper 
which accompanies the one before mentioned, is too miserable 
to need notice. I will take measures for apprising them of its 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect 
and esteem, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble 



PARIS, June 17, 1785. 

Sm, I had the honor of addressing you on the llth of the 
last month by young Mr. Adams, who sailed in the packet of 
that month. That of the present is likely to be retarded to the 
first of July, if not longer. 

On the 14th of May I communicated to the Count de Vergen- 
nes my appointment as minister plenipotentiary to this Court, 
and on the 17th delivered my letter of credence to the King at 
a private audience, and went through the other ceremonies usual 
on such occasion. 

We have reason to expect that Europe will enjoy peace another 
year. The negotiations between the Emperor and United Neth- 
erlands have been spun out to an unexpected length, but there 
seems little doubt but they will end in peace. Whether the ex- 
change projected between the Emperor and Elector of Bavaria, 
or the pretensions of the former in his line of demarcation with 
the Ottoman Porte will produce war, is yet uncertain. If either 
of them does, this country will probably take part in it to prevent 
a dangerous accession of power to the House of Austria. The 
zeal with which they have appeared to negotiate a peace between 
Holland and the Empire seems to prove that they do not appre- 
hend being engaged in war against the Emperor for any other 
power ; because, if they had such an apprehension, they would 
not wish to deprive themselves of the assistance of the Dutch : and 
their opinion on this subject is better evidence than the details 
we get from the newspapers, and must weigh against the affected 
delays of the Porte, as to the line of demarcation, the change in 
their ministry, their preparation for war, and other symptoms of 
like aspect. This question is not altogether uninteresting to us. 
Should this country be involved in a Continental war, while dif- 
ferences are existing between us and Great Britain, the latter 
might carry less moderation into the negotiations for settling 

I send you herewith the gazettes of Leyden and that of 


Fihhce for the last two months, the latter because it is the best 
in this country, the former as being the best in Europe. The 
Courier de 1' Europe you will get genuine from London. As re- 
printed here it is of less worth. Should your knowledge of the 
newspapers of this country lead you to wish for any other, I 
shall take the greatest pleasure in adding it to the regular trans- 
missions of two others which I shall make you in future. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest esteem and respect, 
your most obedient, and most humble servant, 


PARIS, June 17, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I received three days ago your favor of April the 
12th. You therein speak of a former letter to me, but it has not 
come to hand, nor any other of later date than the 14th of De- 
cember. My last to you was of the llth of May by Mr. Adams, 
who went in the packet of that month. These conveyances 
are now becoming deranged. We have had expectations of 
their coming to Havre, which would infinitely facilitate the com- 
munication between Paris and Congress ; but their deliberations 
on the subject seem to be taking another turn. They complain 
of the expense, and that their commerce with us is too small to 
justify it. They therefore talk of sending a packet every six 
weeks only. The present one, therefore, which should have 
sailed about this time, will not sail till the 1st of July. How- 
ever, the whole matter is as yet undecided. I have hopes that 
when Mr. St. John arrives from New York, he will get them re- 
placed on their monthly system. By-the-bye, what is the mean- 
ing of a very angry resolution of Congress on his subject ? I 
have it not by me, and therefore cannot cite it by date, but you 
will remember it, and oblige me by explaining its foundation. 
This will be handed you by Mr. Otto, who comes to America as 
Charge des Affaires, in the room of Mr. Marbois, promoted to the 


Intendancy of Hispaniola, which office is next to that of Gov- 
ernor. He becomes the head of the civil, as the Governor is, of 
the military department. 

I am much pleased with Otto's appointment; he is good- 
humored, affectionate to America, will see things in a friendly 
light when they admit of it, in a rational one always, and will 
not pique himself on writing every trifling circumstance of irri- 
tation to his court. I wish you to be acquainted with him, as a 
friendly intercourse between individuals who do business to- 
gether produces a mutual spirit of accommodation useful to both 
parties. It is very much our interest to keep up the affection of 
this country for us, which is considerable. A court has no affec- 
tions; but those of the people whom they govern influence 
their decisions, even in the most arbitrary governments. 

The negotiations between the Emperor and Dutch are spun 
out to an amazing length. At present there is no apprehension 
but that they will terminate in peace. This court seems to press 
it with ardor, and the Dutch are averse, considering the terms 
cruel and unjust, as they evidently are. The present delays, 
therefore, are imputed to their coldness and to their forms. In 
the meantime, the Turk is delaying the demarcation of limits 
between him and the Emperor, is making the most vigorous 
preparations for war, and has composed his ministry of warlike 
characters, deemed personally hostile to the Emperor. Thus 
time seems to be spinning out, both by the Dutch and Turks, 
and time is wanting for France. Every year's delay is a great 
thing for her. It is not impossible, therefore, but that she may 
secretly encourage the delays of the Dutch, and hasten the prep- 
arations of the Porte, while she is recovering vigor herself, also, 
in order to be able to present such a combination to the Empe- 
ror as may dictate to him to be quiet. But the designs of these 
courts are unsearchable. It is our interest to pray that this coun- 
try may have no continental war till our peace with England is 
perfectly settled. The merchants of this country continue as 
loud and furious as ever against the Arret of August, 1784, per- 
mitting our commerce with their islands to a certain degree. 


Many of them have actually abandoned their trade. The min- 
istry are disposed to be firm ; but there is a point at which they 
will give way, that is, if the clamors should become such as to 
endanger their places. It is evident that nothing can be done by 
us at this time, if we may hope it hereafter. I like your re- 
moval to New York, and hope Congress will continue there, and 
never execute the idea of building their Federal town. Before 
it could be finished, a change of members in Congress, or the 
admission of new States, would remove them somewhere else. 
It is evident that when a sufficient number of the western States 
come in, they will remove it to Georgetown. In the meantime, 
it is our interest that it should remain where it is, and give no 
new pretensions to any other place. I am also much pleased 
with the proposition to the States to invest Congress with the 
regulation of their trade, jeserving its revenue to the States. I 
think it a happy idea, removing the only objection which could 
have been justly .made to the proposition. The time, too, is the 
present, before the admission of the western States. I am very 
differently affected towards the new plan of opening our land 
office, by dividing the lands among the States, and selling them 
at vendue. It separates still more the interests of the States, 
which ought to be made joint in every possible instance, in order 
to cultivate the idea of our being one nation, and to multiply the 
instances in which the people shall look up to Congress as their 
head. And when the States get their portions, they will either 
fool them away, or make a job of it to serve individuals. Proofs 
of both these practices have been furnished, and by either of 
them that invaluable fund is lost, which ought to pay our public 
debt. To sell them at vendue, is to give them to the bidders of 
the day, be they many or few. It is ripping up the hen which 
lays golden eggs. If sold in lots at a fixed price, as first pro- 
posed, the best lots will be sold first ; as these become occupied, 
it gives a value to the interjacent ones, and raises them, though 
of inferior quality, to the price of the first. I send you by Mr. 
Otto a copy of my book. Be so good as to apologize to Mr. 
Thompson for my not sending him one by this conveyance. I 


could not burthen Mr. Otto with more on so long a road as that 
from here to L'Orient. I will send him one by a Mr. Williams, 
who will go ere long. I have taken measures to prevent its pub- 
lication. My reason is, that I fear the terms in which I speak 
of slavery, and of our constitution, may produce an irritation 
which will revolt the minds of our countrymen against reforma- 
tion in these two articles, and thus do more harm than good. I 
have asked of Mr. Madison to sound this matter as far as he can, 
and, if he thinks it will not produce that effect, I have then copies 
enough printed to give one to each of the young men at the Col- 
lege, and to my friends in the country. 

I am sorry to see a possibility of * * * being put into the 
Treasury. He has no talents for the office, and what he has, 
will be employed in rummaging old accounts to involve you in 
eternal war with * * * and he will, in a short time, introduce 
such dissensions into the commission, as to break it up. If he 
goes on the other appointment to Kaskaskia, he will produce a 
revolt of that settlement from the United States. I thank you 
for your attention to my outfit. For the articles of household 
furniture, clothes, and a carriage, I have already paid twenty- 
eight thousand livres, and have still more to pay. For the great- 
est part of this, I have been obliged to anticipate my salary, 
from which, however, I shall never be able to repay it. I find, 
that by a rigid economy, bordering however on meanness, I can 
save perhaps five hundred livres a month, at least in the summer. 
The residue goes for expenses so much of course and of neces- 
sity, that I cannot avoid them without abandoning all respect to 
my public character. Yet I will pray you to touch this string, 
which I know to be a tender one with Congress, with the ut- 
most delicacy. I had rather be ruined in my fortune than in 
their esteem. If they allow me half a year's salary as an outfit, 
I can get through my debts in time. If they raise the salary to 
what it was, or even pay our house rent and taxes, I can live 
with more decency. I trust that Mr. Adams's house at the 
Hague, arid Dr. Franklin's at Passy, the rent of which has been 
always allowed him, will give just expectations of the same al- 


lowance to me. Mr. Jay, however, did not charge it, but he 
lived economically and laid up money. 

I will take the liberty of hazarding to you some thoughts on 
the policy of enlering into treaties with the European nations, 
and the nature of them. I am not wedded to these ideas, and, 
herefore, shall relinquish them cheerfully when Congress shall 
adopt others, and zealously endeavor to carry theirs into effect. 
First, as to the policy of making treaties. Congress, by the 
Confederation, have no original and inherent power over the 
commerce of the States. But,by the 9th article, we are author- 
ized to enter into treaties of commerce. The moment these 
treaties are concluded, the jurisdiction of Congress over the com- 
merce of the States springs into existence, and that of the par- 
ticular States is superseded so far as the articles of the treaty 
may have taken up the subject. There are two restrictions only, 
on the exercise of the power of treaty by Congress. 1st. That 
they shall not, by such treaty, restrain the legislatures of the 
States from imposing such duties on foreigners, as their own 
people are subject to ; nor 2dly, from prohibiting the exporta- 
tion or importation of any particular species of goods. Leaving 
these two points free, Congress may, by treaty, establish any 
system of commerce they please ; but, as I before observed, it is 
by treaty alone they can do it. Though they may exercise 
their other powers by resolution or ordinance, those over com- 
merce can only be exercised by forming a treaty, and this prob 
ably by an accidental wording of our Confederation. If, there- 
fore, it is better for the States that Congress should regulate 
their commerce, it is proper that they should form treaties with 
all nations with whom they may possibly trade. You see that 
my primary object in the formation of treaties is to take the 
commerce of the States out of the hands of the States, and to 
place it under the superintendence of Congress, so far as the im- 
perfect provisions of our constitutions will admit, and until the 
States shall, by new compact, make them more perfect. I 
would say, then, to every nation on earth, by treaty, your people 
shall trade freely with us, and ours with you, paying no more 


than the most favored nation, in order to put an end to the 
right of individual States, acting by fits and starts, to interrupt 
our commerce, or to embroil us with any nation. As to the 
terms of these treaties, the question becomes more difficult. I 
will mention three different plans. 1. That no duty shall be 
laid by either party on the productions of the other. 2. That 
each may be permitted to equalize their duties to those laid by 
the other. 3. That each shall pay in the ports of the other, such 
duties only as the most favored nations pay. 

1. Were the nations of Europe as free and unembarrassed of 
established systems as we are, I do verily believe they would 
concur with us in the first plan. But it is impossible. These 
establishments are fixed upon them ; they are interwoven with 
the body of their laws and the organization of their govern- 
ment, and they make a great part of their revenue ; they cannot 
then, get rid of them. 

2. The plan of equal imposts presents difficulties insurmount- 
able. For how are the equal imposts to be effected ? Is it by 
laying, in the ports of A. an equal per cent, on the goods of B, 
with that which B has laid in his ports on the goods of A ? But 
how are we to find what is that per cent. ? For this is not the 
usual form of imposts. They generally pay by the ton, by the 
measure, by the weight, and not by the value. Besides, if A 
sends a million's worth of goods to B, and takes back but the 
half of that, and each pays the same per cent., it is evident that 
A pays the double of what he recovers in the same way from 
B : this would be our case with Spain. Shall we endeavor to 
effect equality, then, by saying A may levy so much on the sum 
of B's importations into his ports, as B does on the sum of A's 
importations into the ports of B ? But how find out that sum ? 
Will either party lay open their custom-house books candidly to 
evince this sum ? Does either keep their books so exactly as to 
be able to do it ? This proposition was started in Congress 
when our instructions were formed, as you may remember^ and 
the impossibility of executing it occasioned it to be disapproved. 
Besides, who should have a right of deciding, when the imposts 


were equal ? A would say to B, my imposts do not raise so 
much as yours : I raise them therefore. B would then say, you 
have made them greater than mine, I will raise mine ; and thus 
a kind of auction would be carried on between them, and a mu- 
tual irritation, which would end in anything, sooner thbn equal- 
ity and right. 

3. I confess then to you, that I see no alternative left but that 
which Congress adopted, of each party placing the other on the 
footing of the most favored nation. If the nations of Europe, 
from their actual establishments, are not at liberty to say to Amer- 
ica, that she shall trade in their ports duty free, they may say 
she may trade there paying no higher duties than the most fav- 
ored nation ; and this is valuable in many of these countries, 
where a very great difference is made between different nations. 
There is no difficulty in the execution of this contract, because 
there is not a merchant who does not know, or may not know, 
the duty paid by every nation on every article. This stipulation 
leaves each party at liberty to regulate their own commerce by 
general rules, while it secures the other from partial and oppress- 
ive discriminations. The difficulty which arises in our case is, 
with the nations having American territory. Access to -the West 
Indies is indispensably necessary to us. Yet how to gain it, 
when it is the established system of these nations to exclude all 
foreigners from their colonies. The only chance seems to be 
this : our commerce to the mother country is valuable to them. 
We must endeavor, then, to make this the price of an admission 
into their West Indies, and to those who refuse the admission, 
we must refuse our commerce, or load theirs by odious discrim- 
inations in our ports. We have this circumstance in our favor 
too, that what one grants us in their islands, the others will not 
find it worth their while to refuse. The misfortune is, that with 
this country we gave this price for their aid in the war, arid we 
have now nothing more to offer. She, being withdrawn from 
the competition, leaves Great Britain much more at liberty to 
hold out against us. This is the difficult part of the business of 
treaty, and I own it does not hold out the most flattering prospects. 


I wish you would consider this subject, and write me your 
thoughts on it. Mr. Gerry wrote me on the same subject. Will 
you give me leave to impose on you the trouble of communicat- 
ing this to him ? It is long, and will save me much labor in 
copying. I hope he will be so indulgent as to consider it as an 
answer to that part of his letter, and will give me his further 
thoughts on it. 

Shall I send you so much of the Encyclopedia as is already 
published, or reserve it here till you come ? It is about forty 
volumes, which probably is about half the work. Give yourself 
no uneasiness about the money ; perhaps I may find it conve- 
nient to ask you to pay trifles occasionally for me in America. 
I sincerely wish you may find it convenient to come here ; the 
pleasure of the trip will be less than you expect, but the utility 
greater. It will make you adore your own country, its soil, its 
climate, its equality, liberty, laws, people, and manners. My 
God ! how little do my countrymen know what precious bless- 
ings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth 
enjoy. I confess I had no idea of it myself. While we shall 
see multiplied instances of Europeans going to live in America, 
I will venture to say, no man now living will ever see an instance 
of an American removing to settle in Europe, and continuing 
there. Come, then, and see the proofs of this, and on your re- 
turn add your testimony to that of every thinking American, in 
order to satisfy our countrymen how much it is their interest to 
preserve, uninfected by contagion, those peculiarities in their gov- 
ernments and manners, to which they are indebted for those 
blessings. Adieu, my dear friend ; present me affectionately to 
your colleagues. If any of them think me worth writing to, 
they may be assured that in the epistolary account I will keep 
the debit side against them. Once more, adieu. 

Yours affectionately. 

P. S. June 19. Since, writing the above, we have received 
the following account : Monsieur Pilatre de Roziere, who had 


been waiting for some months at Boulogne for a fair wind to cross 
the channel, at length took his ascent with a companion. The 
wind changed after awhile, and brought him back on the French 
coast. Being at a height of about six thousand feet, some acci- 
dent happened to his balloon of inflammable air ; it burst, they 
fell from that height, and were crashed to atoms. There was a 
Montgolfier combined with the balloon of inflammable air. It 
is suspected the heat of the Montgolfier rarefied too much the in- 
flammable air of the other, and occasioned it to burst. The Mont- 
golfier came down in good order. 


PARIS, June 19, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I take the liberty of enclosing to you a state of 
the case of one Poison, and begging your inquiries and information 
whether the lands therein mentioned have been escheated and 
sold, and, if they have, what would be the proper method of ap- 
plication to obtain a compensation for them. 

The negotiations between Holland and the Emperor are slow, 
but will probably end in peace. It is believed the Emperor will 
not at present push the Bavarian exchange. The Porte delays 
the demarcation of limits with him, and is making vigorous prep- 
arations for war. But neither will this latter be permitted to pro- 
duce a war, if France can prevent it, because, wherever the Em- 
peror is seeking to enlarge his dominions, France will present to 
him the point of a bayonet. But she wishes extremely for repose, 
and has need of it. She is the wealthiest but worst governed 
country on earth ; and her finances utterly unprepared for war. 
We have need to pray for her repose, and that she may not be 
engaged in a continental war while our matters with Great Britain 
are so unsettled and so little like being settled. 

An accident has happened here which will probably damp the 

ardor with which aerial navigation has been pursued. Monsieur 
VOL. i. 23 


Pilatre de Roziere had been attending many months at Boulogne 
a fair wind to cross the channel in a balloon which was com- 
pounded of one of inflammable air, and another called a Mont- 
golfier with rarefied air only. He at length thought the wind 
fair and with a companion ascended. After proceeding a proper 
direction about two leagues, the wind changed and brought them 
again over the French coast. Being at the height of about six 
thousand feet, some accident, unknown, burst the balloon of in- 
flammable air, and the Montgolfier being unequal alone to sustain 
their weight, they precipitated from that height to the earth, and 
were crushed to atoms. Though navigation by water is attended 
with frequent accidents, and in its infancy must have been at- 
tended with more, yet these are now so familiar that we think 
little of them, while that which has signalized the two first mar- 
tyrs to the aeronautical art will probably deter very many from 
the experiments they would have been disposed to make. Will 
you give me leave to hope the pleasure of hearing from you some- 
times. The details from my own country of the proceedings of 
the legislative, executive and judiciary bodies, and even those 
which respect individuals only, are the most pleasing treat we can 
receive at this distance, and the most useful also. I will promise 
in return whatever may be interesting to you here. 
I am, with very perfect esteem, Sir, 

Your friend and servant. 


PARIS, June 21, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of March the 6th, has come duly to 
hand. You therein acknowledge the receipt of mine of Novem- 
ber the llth ; at that time you could not have received my last, 
of February the 8th. At present there is so little new in politics, 
literature, or the arts, that I write rather to prove to you my de- 
sire of nourishing your correspondence, than of being able to 


give you my thing interesting at this time. The political world 
is almost lulled to sleep by the lethargic state of the Dutch nego- 
tiation, which will probably end in peace. Nor does this court 
profess to apprehend that the Emperor will involve this hemi- 
sphere in war by his schemes on Bavaria and Turkey. The 
arts, instead of advancing, have lately received a check, which 
will probably render stationary for awhile, that branch of them 
which had promised to elevate us to the skies. Pilatre de Roziere, 
who had first ventured into that region, has fallen a sacrifice to 
it. In an attempt to pass from Boulogne over to England, a 
change in the wind having brought him back on the coast of 
France, some accident happened to his balloon of inflammable 
air, which occasioned it to burst, and that of rarefied air combined 
with it being then unequal to the weight, they fell to the earth 
from a height, which the first reports made six thousand feet, but 
later ones have reduced to sixteen hundred. Pilatre de Roziere 
was dead when a peasant, distant one hundred yards only, ran to 
him ; but Romain, his companion, lived about ten minutes, though 
speechless, and without his senses. In literature there is nothing 
new. For I do not consider as having added anything to that 
field my own Notes, of which I have had a few copies printed. 
I will send you a copy by the first safe conveyance. Having 
troubled Mr. Otto with one for Colonel Monroe, I could riot 
charge him with one for you. Pray ask the favor of Colonel 
Monroe, in page 5, line 17, to strike out the words, " above the 
mouth of the Appamattox," which makes nonsense of the pas- 
sage and I forgot to correct it before I had enclosed and sent off 
the copy to him. I am desirous of preventing the reprinting 
this, should any book merchant think it worth it, till I hear from 
my friends, whether the terms in which I have spoken of slavery 
and the constitution of our State, will not, by producing an irri- 
tation, retard that reformation which I wish, instead of promoting 
it. Dr. Franklin proposes to sail for America about the first or 
second week of July. He does not yet know, however, by what 
conveyance he can go. Unable to travel by land, he must de- 
scend the Seine in a boat to Havre. He has sent to England to 


get some vessel bound for Philadelphia, to touch at Havre for 
him. But he receives information that this cannot be done. He 
has been on the look out ever since he received his permission to 
return ; but, as yet, no possible means of getting a passage have 
offered, and I fear it is very uncertain when any will offer. 
I am, with very great esteem, dear Sir, 

Your friend and servant. 


PARIS, June 23, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, My last to you was of the 2d instant, since which 
I have received yours of the 3d and 7th. I informed you in 
mine of the substance of our letter to Baron Thulemeyer : last 
night came to hand his acknowledgment of the receipt of it. 
He accedes to the method proposed for signing, and has for- 
warded our dispatch to the King. I enclose you a copy of our 
letter to Mr. Jay, to go by the packet of this month. It con- 
tains a state of our proceedings since the preceding letter, which 
you had signed with us. This statement contains nothing but 
what you had concurred with us in ; and, as Dr. Franklin ex- 
pects to go early in July to America, it is probable that the future 
letters must be written by you and myself. I shall, therefore, 
take care that you be furnished with copies of everything which 
comes to hand on the joint business. 

What has become of this Mr. Lambe ? I am uneasy at the 
delay of that business, since we know the ultimate decision of 
Congress. Dr. Franklin, having a copy of the Corps Diplomat- 
ique, has promised to prepare a draught of a treaty to be offered 
to the Barbary States : as soon as he has done so, we will send 
it to you for your corrections. We think it will be best to have 
it in readiness against the arrival of Mr. Lambe, on the supposi- 
tion that he may be addressed to the joint ministers for instruc- 


I asked the favor of you in my last, to choose two of the best 
London papers for me ; one of each party. The Duke of Dorset 
has given me leave to have them put under his address, and sent 
to the office from which his despatches come. I think he called 
it Cleveland office, or Cleveland lane, or by some such name ; 
however, I suppose it can be easily known there. Will Mr. 
Stockdale undertake to have these papers sent regularly, or is 
this out of the line of his business ? Pray order me, also, any 
really good pamphlets that come out from time to time, which 
he will charge to me. 

I am, with great esteem, dear Sir, your friend and servant. 


PARIS, June 27, 1786. 

SIR, I had the honor of informing you some time ago that 
I had written to the Board of Treasury on the subject of the ar- 
rearages of interest due to the foreign officers, and urging the 
necessity of paying them. I now enclose the extract of a letter 
which I have just received from them, and by which you will 
perceive that their funds were not in a condition for making that 
payment in the moment of receiving my letter, but that they 
would be attentive to make it in the first moment it should be in 
their power. There is still a second letter of mine on the way 
to them, on the same subject, which will again press for exer- 
tions in this business, which, however, I am satisfied they will 
not fail to do their utmost in. It will give me real pleasure to 
inform you of effectual provision for this purpose in the first mo- 
ment possible, being with sentiments of esteem and respect, Sir, 
your most obedient and most humble servant. 



PARIS, July 5, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I wrote you by Mr. Adams, May the llth, ana 
by Mr. Otto, June the 17th. The latter acknowledged the re- 
ceipt of yours of April the 12th, which is the only one come to 
hand of later date than December the 14th. Little has occurred 
since my last. Peace seems to show herself under a more 
decided form. The Emperor is now on a journey to Italy, and 
the two Dutch Plenipotentiaries have set out for Vienna ; there 
to make an apology for their State having dared to fire a gun in 
defence of her invaded rights : this is insisted on as a preliminary 
condition. The Emperor seems to prefer the glory of terror to 
that of justice ; and, to satisfy this tinsel passion, plants a dagger 
in the heart of every Dutchman which no time will extract. I 
enquired lately of a gentleman who lived long at Constantinople, 
in a public character, and enjoyed the confidence of that govern- 
ment, insomuch as to become well acquainted with its spirit and 
its powers, what he thought might be the issue of the present affair 
between the Emperor and the Porte. He thinks the latter will 
not push matters to a war ; and, if they do, they must fail undei 
it. They have lost their warlike spirit, and their troops cannot 
be induced to adopt the European arms. We have no news yet 
of Mr. Lambe ; of course, our Barbary proceedings are still at a 

Yours Affectionately. 


PARIS, July 7, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, This will accompany a joint letter enclosing the 
draft of a treaty, and my private letter of June 23d, which has 

[* The remainder of this letter is in cypluy to which there is no key in the 
Editor's possession.] 


waited so long for a private conveyance. We daily expect from 
the Baron Thulemeyer the French column for our treaty with 
his sovereign. In the meanwhile, two copies are preparing with 
the English column, which Dr. Franklin wishes to sign before 
his departure, which will be within four or five days. The 
French, when received, will be inserted in the blank columns of 
each copy. As the measure of signing at several times and 
places is new, we think it necessary to omit no other circum- 
stance of ceremony which can be observed. That of sending it 
by a person of confidence, and invested with a character relative 
to the object, who shall attest our signatures here, yours in Lon- 
don, and Baron Thulemeyer's at the Hague, and who shall make 
the actual exchanges, we think will contribute to supply the de- 
parture from the usual form, in other instances. For this reason, 
we have agreed to send Mr. Short on this business, to make him 
a secretary pro hac vice, and to join Mr. Dumas for the operations 
of exchange, &c. As Dr. Franklin will have left us before Mr. 
Short's mission will commence, and I have never been concerned 
in the ceremonials of a treaty, I will thank you for your imme- 
diate information as to the papers he should be furnished with 
from hence. He will repair first to you in London, thence to 
the Hague, and then return to Paris. 

What has become of Mr. Lambe ? Supposing he was to call 
on the commissioners for instructions, and thinking it best these 
should be in readiness, Dr. Franklin undertook to consult well 
the Barbary treaties with other nations, and to prepare a sketch 
which we should have sent for your correction. He tells me he 
has consulted those treaties, and made references to the articles 
proper for us, which, however, he will not have time to put into 
form, but will leave them with me to reduce. As soon as I see 
them, you shall hear from me. A late conversation with an 
English gentleman here makes me believe, what I did not be- 
lieve before, that his nation thinks seriously that Congress have 
no power to form a treaty of commerce. As the explanations 
of this matter, which you and I may separately give, may be 
handed to their minister, it would be well that they should agree. 


For this reason, as well as for the hope of your showing me 
wherein I am wrong, and confirming me where I am right, I will 
give you my creed on the subject. It is contained in these four 
principles. By the Confederation, Congress have no power given 
them, in the first instance, over the commerce of the States. 
But they have a power given them of entering into treaties of 
commerce, and these treaties may cover the whole field of com- 
merce, with two restrictions only. 1. That the States may im- 
pose equal duties on foreigners as natives : and 2. That they may 
prohibit the exportation or importation of any species of goods 
whatsoever. When they shall have entered into such treaty, the 
superintendence of it results to them ; all the operations of com- 
merce, which are protected by its stipulations, come under their 
jurisdiction, and the power of the States to thwart them by their 
separate acts, ceases. If Great Britain asks, then, why she 
should enter into any treaty with us? why not carry on her 
commerce without treaty ? I answer ; because, till a treaty is 
made, no consul of hers can be received (his functions being 
called into existence by a convention only, and the States hav- 
ing abandoned the right of separate agreements and treaties) ; 
no protection to her commerce can be given by Congress ; no 
cover to it from those checks and discouragements with which 
the States will oppress it, acting separately, and by fits and 
starts. That they will act so till a treaty is made Great Britain 
has had several proofs ; and I am convinced those proofs will be- 
come general. It is, then, to put her commerce with us on system- 
atical ground, and under safe cover, that it behoves Great 
Britain to enter into treaty. As I own to you that my wish to 
enter into treaties with the other powers of Europe arises more 
from a desire of bringing all our commerce under the jurisdiction 
of Congress, than from any other views. Because, according to 
my idea, the commerce of the United States with those countries, 
not under treaty with us, is under the jurisdiction of each State 
separately ; but that of the countries, which have treated with us, 
is under the jurisdiction of Congress, with the two fundamental 
restraints only, which I hav b^^ore noted. 


I shall be happy to receive your corrections of these ideas, as 
I have found, in the course of our joint services, that I think 
right when I think with you. 

I am, with sincere affection, dear Sir, your friend and servant. 

P. S. Monsieur Houdon has agreed to go to America to take 
the figure of General Washington. In case of his death, between 
his departure from Paris, and his return to it, we may lose twenty 
thousand livres. I ask the favor of you to enquire what it will 
cost to ensure that sum, on his life, in London, and to give me as 
early an answer as possible, that I may order the insurance if I 
think the terms easy enough. He is, I believe, between thirty 
and thirty-five years of age, healthy enough, and will be absent 
about six months. 


PARIS, July 10th, 1785. 

SIR, I am honored with your Excellency's letter on the prize 
money for which Mr. Jones applies. The papers intended to 
have been therein enclosed, not having been actually enclosed, I 
am unable to say anything on their subject. But I find that 
Congress, on the first day of November, 1783, recommended 
Captain Jones to their Minister here, as agent, to solicit, under his 
direction, payment to the officers and crews for the prizes taken 
in Europe under his command ; requiring him previously to give 
to their superintendent of finance good security for paying to 
him whatever he should receive, to be by him distributed to 
those entitled. In consequence of this, Captain Jones gave the 
security required, as is certified by the superintendent of finance 
on the 6th of November, 1783, and received from Doctor Frank- 
lin on the 17th of December, 1783, due authority, as agent, to 
solicit the said payments. 

From these documents, I consider Captain Jones as agent 
for the citizens of the United States, interested in the prizes 


taken in Europe under his command, and that he is properly au- 
thorized to receive the money due to them, having given good 
security to transmit it to the treasury office of the United States, 
whence it will be distributed, under the care of Congress, to the 
officers and crews originally entitled, or to their representatives. 
I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect, 
your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant, 


PARIS, July 13th, 1785. 

GENTLEMEN, I had the honor of receiving your letter of June 
the 21st, enclosing one from Mr. Alexander of June the 17th, 
and a copy of his application to Monsieur de Calonnes. I am 
very sensible that no trade can be on a more desperate footing 
than that of tobacco, in this country ; and that our merchants 
must abandon the French markets, if they are not permitted to 
sell the productions they bring, on such terms as will enable 
them to purchase reasonable returns in the manufactures of 
France. ' I know but one remedy to the evil ; that of allowing 
a free vent ; and I should be very happy in being instrumental to 
the obtaining this. But, while the purchase of tobacco is monop- 
olized by a company, and they pay for that monopoly a heavy 
price to the government, they doubtless are at liberty to fix such 
places and terms of purchase, as may enable them to make good 
their engagements with government. I see no more reason for 
obliging them to give a greater price for tobacco than they think 
they can afford, than to do the same between two individuals 
treating for a horse, a house, or anything else. Could this be 
effected by applications to the minister, it would only be a pallia- 
tive which would retard the ultimate cure, so much to be wished 
for and aimed at by every friend to this country, as well as to 

I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, your most obedient hum- 
ble servant, 



PARIS, July 17, 1785. 

SIR, I have long deferred doing myself the honor of writing 
to you, wishing for an opportunity to accompany my letter with 
a copy of the Bibliothcque Physico-ceconomique ; a book pub- 
lished here lately in four small volumes, and which gives an ac- 
count of all the improvements in the arts which have been made 
for some years past. I flatter myself you will find in it many 
things agreeable and useful. I accompany it with the volumes 
of the " Connoisance des Terns" for the years 1781, 1784, 1785, 
1786, 1787. But why, you will ask, do I send you old alman- 
acs, which are proverbially useless ? Because, in these publica- 
tions have appeared, from time to time, some of the most pre- 
cious things in astronomy. I have searched out those particulai 
volumes which might be valuable to you on this account. 
That of 1781, contains de la Caille's catalogue of fixed stars 
reduced to the commencement of that year, and a table of the 
aberrations and nutations of the principal stars. 1784 contain* 
the same catalogue with the nebuleuses of Messier. 1785 con 
tains the famous catalogue of Hamsteed, with the positions of 
the stars reduced to the beginning of the year 1784, and which 
supersedes the use of that immense book. 1786 gives you 
Euler's lunar tables corrected ; and 1787, the tables for the planet 
Herschel. The two last needed not an apology, as not being 
within the description of old almanacs. It is fixed on grounds 
which scarcely admit a doubt that the planet Herschel was seen 
by Mayer in the year 1756, and was considered by him as one 
of the zodiacal stars, and, as such, arranged in his catalogue, 
being the 964th which he describes. This 964th of Mayer has 
been since missing, and the calculations for the planet Herschel 
show that it should have been, at the time of Mayer's observa- 
tion, where he places his 964th star. The volume of 1787 
gives you Mayer's catalogue of the zodiacal stars. The re- 
searches of the natural philosophers of Europe seem mostly in 
the field of chemistry, and here, principally, on the subjects of 


air and fire. The analysis of these two subjects, presents to us 
very new ideas. When speaking of the " Bibliothcque Physico- 
oeconomique," I should have observed, that since its publication, 
a man in this city has invented a method of moving a vessel on 
the water, by a machine worked within the vessel. I went to 
see it. He did not know himself the principle of his own inven- 
tion. It is a screw with a very broad thin worm, or rather it is 
a thin plate with its edge applied spirally round an axis. This 
being turned, operates on the air, as a screw does, and may be 
literally said to screw the vessel along ; the thinness of the me- 
dium, and its want of resistance, occasion a loss of much of the 
force. The screw, I think, would be more effectual if placed 
below the surface of the water. I very much suspect that a 
countryman of ours, Mr. Bushnel of Connecticut, is entitled to 
the merit of a prior discovery of this use of the screw. I re- 
member to have heard of his submarine navigation during the 
war, and, from what Colonel Humphreys now tells me, I con- 
jecture that the screw was the power he used. He joined to 
this a machine for exploding under water at a given moment. 
If it were not too great a liberty for a stranger to take, I would 
ask from him a narration of his actual experiments, with or with- 
out a communication of his principle, as he should choose. If 
he thought proper to communicate it, I would engage never to 
disclose it, unless I could find an opportunity of doing it for his 
benefit. I thank you for your information as to the great bones 
found on the Hudson river. I suspect that they must have been 
of the same animal with those found on the Ohio ; and, if so, 
they could not have belonged to any human figure, because 
they are accompanied with tusks of the size, form and sub- 
stance, of those of the elephant. I have seen a part of the ivory, 
which was very good. The animal itself must have been much 
larger than an elephant. Mrs. Adams gives me an account of a 
flower found in Connecticut, which vegetates when suspended 
in the air. She brought one to Europe. What can be this 
flower ? It would be a curious present to this continent. 

The accommodation likely to take place between the Dutch 


and the Emperor, leaves us without that unfortunate resource 
for news, which wars give us. The Emperor has certainly had 
in view the Bavarian exchange of which you have heard ; but 
so formidable an opposition presented itself, that he has thought 
proper to disavow it. The Turks show a disposition to go to 
war with him, but, if this country can prevail on them to remain 
in peace, they will do so. It has been thought that the two 
Imperial courts have a plan of expelling the Turks from Europe. 
It is really a pity so charming a country should remain in the 
hands of a people, whose religion forbids the admission of 
science and the arts among them. We should wish success to 
the object of the two empires, if they meant to leave the coun- 
try in possession of the Greek inhabitants. We might then ex- 
pect, once more, to see the language of Homer and Demos- 
thenes a living language. For I am persuaded the modern 
Greel"would easily get back to its classical models. But this is 
-not intended. They only propose to put the Greeks under other 
masters : to substitute one set of barbarians for another. 

Colonel Humphreys, having satisfied you that all attempts 
would be fruitless here to obtain money or other advantages for 
your college, I need add nothing on that head. It is a method 
of supporting colleges of which they have no idea, though they 
practice it for the support of their lazy monkish institutions. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem, 
Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant. 


PARIS, July 28, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, Your favors of July the 16th and 18th, came to 
hand the same day on which I had received Baron Thule- 
meyer's enclosing the ultimate draught for the treaty. As this 
draught, which was in French, was to be copied into the two 
instruments which Dr. Franklin had signed, it is finished this 


day only. Mr. Short sets out immediately. I have put into his 
hands a letter of instructions how to conduct himself, which I 
have signed, leaving a space above for your signature. The 
two treaties I have signed at the left hand, Dr. Franklin having 
informed me that the signatures are read backwards. Besides 
the instructions to Mr. Short, I signed also a letter to Mr. Dumas, 
associating him with Mr. Short. These two letters I made out 
as nearly conformably as I could to your ideas expressed in your 
letter of the 18th. If anything more be necessary, be so good 
as to make a separate instruction for them signed by yourself, to 
which I will accede. I have not directed Mr. Dumas's letter. 
I have heretofore directed to him as " Agent for the United States 
at the Hague," that being the descriptiori under which the jour- 
nals of Congress speak of him. In his last letter to me, is a 
paragraph from which I conclude that the address I have used 
is not agreeable, and perhaps may be wrong. Will you be so 
good as to address the letter to him, and to inform me how to 
address him hereafter ? Mr. Short carries also the other papers 
necessary. His equipment for his journey requiring expenses 
which cannot come into the account of ordinary expenses, such 
as clothes, &c., what allowance should be made him ? I have 
supposed somewhere between a guinea a day, and one thousand 
dollars a year, which I believe is the salary of a private secretary. 
This I mean as over and above his travelling expenses. Be so 
good as to say, and I will give him an order on his return. 
The danger of robbery, has induced me to furnish him with 
only money enough to carry him to London. You will be so 
good as to procure him enough to carry him to the Hague, and 
back to Paris. 

The confederation of the King of Prussia with some members 
of the Germanic body, for the preservation of their constitution, 
is, I think, beyond a doubt. The Emperor has certainly com- 
plained of it in formal communications at several courts. By 
what can be collected from diplomatic conversation here, I also 
conclude it tolerably certain, that the Elector of Hanover has 
been invited to accede to the confederation, and has done, or is 


doing so. You will have better circumstances, however, on the 
spot, to form a just judgment. Our matters with the first of 
these powers being now in conclusion, I wish it was so with 
the Elector of Hanover. I conclude, from the general express- 
ions in your letter, that little may be expected. Mr. Short fur- 
nishing so safe a conveyance that the trouble of the cypher may 
be dispensed with, I will thank you for such details of what has 
passed, as may not be too troublesome to you. 

The difficulties of getting books into Paris delayed for some 
time my receipt of the Corps diplomatique left by Dr. Franklin. 
Since that, we have been engaged with expediting Mr. Short. 
A huge packet also, brought by Mr. Mazzei, has added to the 
causes which have as yet prevented me from examining Dr. 
Franklin's notes on the Barbary treaty. It shall be one of my 
first occupations. Still the possibility is too obvious that we 
may run counter to the instructions of Congress, of which Mr. 
Lambe is said to be the bearer. There is a great impatience in 
America for these treaties. I am much distressed between this 
impatience and the known will of Congress, on .the one hand, 
and the uncertainty of the details committed to this tardy ser- 

The Duke of Dorset sets out for London to-morrow. He 
says he shall be absent two months. There is some whisper 
that he will not return, and that Lord Carmarthen wishes to 
come here. I am sorry to lose so honest a man as the Duke. I 
take the liberty to ask an answer about the insurance of Hou- 
don's life. 

Congress is not likely to adjourn this summer. They have 
passed an ordinance for selling their lands. I have not received 

What would you think of the enclosed draught to be proposed 
to the courts of London and Versailles? I would add Madrid 
and Lisbon, but that they are still more desperate than the others. 
I know it goes beyond our powers, and beyond the powers of 
Congress too ; but it is so evidently for the good of all the States, 
that I should not be afraid to risk myself on it, if you are of the 


same opinion. Consider it, if you please, and give me your 
thoughts on it by Mr. Short ; but I do not communicate it to him, 
nor any other mortal living but yourself. 

Be pleased to present me in the most friendly terms to the ladies, 
and believe me to be, with great esteem, 

Dear Sir, your friend and servant. 


PARIS, July 28, 1785. 

SIR, 1 was honored with the receipt of your letter on the 
24th instant, together with the French draught of the treaty 
proposed. As it ultimately meets his Majesty's approbation, Dr. 
Franklin, our colleague, having assisted us through the progress 
of this business, we were desirous he also should join in the ex- 
ecution. Duplicate instruments were therefore prepared, each 
divided into two columns, in one of which we entered the Eng- 
lish form as it has been settled between us, leaving the other 
blank to receive the French, which we expected from you. In 
this state the Doctor, before his departure, put his signature and 
seal to the two instruments. We have since put into the blank 
column the French form received from you verbatim. As we 
thought that such instruments should not be trusted out of con- 
fidential hands, and the bearer thereof, William Short, Esq., 
heretofore a member of the Council of State in Virginia, hap- 
pened to be in Paris, and willing to give us his assistance herein, 
they are delivered into his hands with other necessary papers, 
according to an arrangement previously made between Mr. Ad- 
ams, Dr. Franklin and myself. He will proceed to London to 
obtain Mr. Adams's signature, and thence to the Hague, where 
we have, according to your desire, associated Mr. Dumas with 
him to concur with you in the final execution. It is with sin- 
gular pleasure I see this connection formed by my country with 
a sovereign whose character gives a lustre to all the transactions 


of which he makes part. Give me leave to recommend Mr. 
Short to your notice. His talents and merits are such as to have 
placed him, young as he is, \n the Supreme Executive Council 
of Virginia, an office which he relinquished to visit Europe. 
The letter to Baron Steuben shall be taken care of. 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect, 
Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant. 


PARIS, July 30, 1785. 

GENTLEMEN, I received yesterday your favor of the 25th. 
Supposing that the funds which are the object of your enquiry, 
are those which constitute what we call our domestic debt, it is 
my opinion that they are absolutely secure : I have no doubt at 
all but that they will be paid, with their interest at six per cent. 
But I cannot say that they are as secure and solid as the funds 
which constitute our foreign debt ; because no man in America 
ever entertained a doubt that our foreign debts is to be paid fully ; 
but some people in America have seriously contended, that the 
certificates, and other evidences of our domestic debt, ought to 
be redeemed only at what they have cost the holder ; for I must 
observe to you, that these certificates of domestic debt, having 
as yet no provision for the payment of principal or interest, and 
the original holders being mostly needy, have been sold at a very 
great discount. When I left America (July, 1784, ) they sold, in dif- 
ferent States, at from 15s. to 2s. 6d. in the pound ; arid any amount 
of them might then have been purchased. Hence some thought 
that full justice would be done, if the public paid the purchasers 
of them what they actually paid for them, and interest on that. 
But this is very far from being a general opinion ; a very great 
majority being firmly decided that they shall be paid fully. Were 
I the holder of any of them, I should not have the least fear of 
their full payment. There is also a difference between different 
VOL. i. 24 


species of certificates ; some of them being receivable in taxes, 
others having the benefit of particular assurances, &c. Again, 
some of these certificates are for paper money debts. A decep- 
tion here must be guarded against. Congress ordered all such to 
be re-settled by the depreciation tables, and a new certificate to 
be given in exchange for them, expressing their value in real 
money. But all have not yet been re-settled. In short, this is 
a science in which few in America are expert, and no person in a 
foreign country can be so. Foreigners should therefore be sure 
that they are well advised, before they meddle with them, or they 
may suffer. If you will reflect with what degree of success per- 
sons actually in America could speculate in the European funds, 
which rise and fall daily, you may judge how far those in Eu- 
rope may do it in the American funds, which are more variable 
from a variety of causes. 

I am not at all acquainted with Mr. Daniel Parker, further 
than having once seen him in Philadelphia. He is of Massa- 
chusetts, I believe, and I am of Virginia. His circumstances are 
utterly unknown to me. I think there are few men in America, 
if there is a single one, who could command a hundred thou- 
sand pounds' sterling worth of these notes, at their real value. 
At their nominal amount, this might be done perhaps with twen- 
ty-five thousand pounds sterling, if the market price of them be 
as low as when I left America. 

I am, with very great respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient 
humble servant. 


PARIS, July 31, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I was honored yesterday with yours of the 24th 
instant. When the first article of our instructions of May 7th, 
1784, was under debate in Congress, it was proposed that neither 
party should make the other pay, in their ports, greater duties, 


than they paid in the ports of the other. One objection to this 
was, its impracticability ; another, that it would put it out of our 
power to lay such duties on alien importation as might encourage 
importation by natives. Some members, much attached to Eng- 
lish policy, thought such a distinction should actually be estab- 
lished. Some thought the power to do it should be reserved, in 
case any peculiar circumstances should call for it, though under 
the present, or, perhaps, any. probable circumstances, they did 
not think it would be good policy ever to exercise it. The foot- 
ing gentis amicissimcB, was therefore adopted, as you see in the 
instruction. As far as my enquiries enable me to judge, France 
and Holland make no distinction of duties between aliens and 
natives. I also rather believe that the other States of Europe 
make none, England excepted, to whom this policy, as that of 
her navigation act, seems peculiar. The question then is, should 
we disarm ourselves of the power to make this distinction against 
all nations, in order to purchase an exception from the alien du- 
ties in England only ; for if we put her importations on the foot- 
ing of native, all other nations with, whom we treat will have a 
right to claim the same. I think we should, because against 
other nations,who make no distinction in their ports between us 
and their own subjects, we ought not to make a distinction in 
ours. And if the English will agree, in like manner, to make 
none, we should, with equal reason, abandon the right as against 
them. I think all the world would gain, by setting commerce 
at perfect liberty. I remember that when we were digesting 
the general form of our treaty, this proposition to put foreigners 
and natives on the same footing was considered ; and we were 
all three, Dr. Franklin as well as you and myself, in favor of it. 
We finally, however, did not admit it, partly from the objection 
you mention, but more still on account of our instructions. But 
though the English proclamation had appeared in America at the 
time of framing these instructions, I think its effect, as to alien 
duties, had not yet been experienced, and therefore was not at- 
tended to. If it had been noted in the debate, I am sure that the 
annihilation of our whole trade would have been thought too 


great a price to pay for the reservation of a barren power, which 
a majority of the members did not propose ever to exercise, 
though they were willing to retain it. Stipulating for equal 
rights to foreigners and natives, we obtain more in foreign ports 
than our instructions required, and we only part with, in our 
own ports, a power of which sound policy would probably for- 
ever forbid the exercise. Add to this, that our treaty will be for 
a very short term, and if any evil be experienced under it, a re- 
formation will soon be in our power. I am, therefore, for putting 
this among our original propositions to the court of London. 

If it should prove an insuperable obstacle with them, or if it 
should stand in the way of a greater advantage, we can but aban- 
don it in the course of the negotiation. 

In my copy of the cypher, on the alphabetical side, numbers 
are wanting from " Denmark" to " disc" inclusive, and from 
" gone" to " governor" inclusive. I suppose them to have been 
omitted in copying ; will you be so good as to send them to me 
from yours, by the first safe conveyance ? 

With compliments to the ladies, and to Colonel Smith, 

I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant.* 


July, 1785. 

SIR, A treaty of amity and commerce between the United 
States of America and his majesty the King of Prussia having 
been arranged with the Baron de Thulemeyer, his majesty's en- 
voy extraordinary at the Hague, specially empowered for this 

[* The original of this letter was in cypher. But annexed to the copy iu cypher, 
is the above literal copy by the author.] 

[f Mr. Short was Mr. Jefferson's private secretary. The propositions of our min- 
isters for commercial treaties, were received with coldness by all the European pow- 
ers except Prussia, Denmark, and Tuscany. Frederick met their propositions cor- 
dially, and a treaty was soon concluded with his minister at the Hague. With Den- 
mark and Tuscany our own ministers, from considerations of policy, protracted the 
negotiations until their powers expired. ED.] 


purpose, and it being inconsistent with our other duties to repair 
to that place ourselves for the purpose of executing and exchang- 
ing the instruments of treaty, we hereby appoint you special 
secretary for that purpose. 

You receive from Colonel Humphries, secretary of our lega- 
tion, the original of our full powers, and a copy of the same at- 
tested by him, heretofore communicated to us by the Baron de 
Thulemeyer, and the two instruments of treaty awarded between 
us, each in two columns, the one in English and the other in 
French, equally originals. From us you receive a letter to 
Charles Dumas, Esq., for the United States at the 

Hague, associating him with you in the object of your mission. 

You will proceed immediately to the Hague, and being arrived 
there, will deliver the letter to Mr. Dumas, and proceed conjunct- 
ly with him in the residue of your business, which is to be exe- 
cuted there. 

The original of our full powers is to be exhibited to the pleni- 
potentiary of his majesty the King of Prussia, and the attested 
copy is to be left with him, you taking back the original. You 
will in like manner ask an exhibition of the original of his full 
powers, and also a copy duly attested : you will compare the copy 
with the original, and, being satisfied of its exactness, you will 
return the original and keep the copy. That you may be under 
no doubt whether the full powers exhibited to you be sufficient 
or not, you receive from Colonel Humphries those which the 
Baron de Thulemeyer heretofore sent to us ; if those which 
shall be exhibited agree with these in form or substance, they 
will be sufficient. 

The full powers being approved on each side and exchanged, 
you will obtain the signature and seal of the Prussian plenipo- 
tentiary to the two instruments of treaty with which you are 
charged, and yourself and Mr. Dumas will attest the same. One 
of these original instruments will remain in the hands of the 
Prussian plenipotentiary, the other you will retain. 

You will ask that the ratification of his majesty the King of 
Prussia be made known to us as soon as it shall have taken 


place, giving an assurance on our part that that of Congress shall 
also be communicated as soon as it shall have taken place ; 
when both ratifications shall be known, measures may be con- 
certed for exchanging them. You will confer with the said 
plenipotentiary on the expediency of keeping this treaty uncom- 
municated to the public until the exchange of ratifications agree 

You will then return to Paris, and redeliver to the secretary 
of our legation, our original full powers, the copies of those of 
Prussia before-mentioned, and the original instrument of the 
treaty which you shall have retained. 


PARIS, August 8, 1785. 

SIR, The enclosed copy of a letter from Captain John Paul 
Jones, on the subject on which your Excellency did me the honor 
to write me, on the day of July, will inform you that there is 
still occasion to be troublesome to you. A Mr. Puchilberg, a 
merchant of L'Orient, who seems to have kept himself unknown 
till money was to be received, now presents powers to receive it, 
signed by the American officers and crews ; and this produces a 
hesitation in the person to whom your order was directed. Con- 
gress, however, having substituted Captain Jones, as agent, to 
solicit and receive this money, he having given them security to 
forward it, when received, to their treasury, to be thence distrib- 
uted to the claimants, and having at a considerable expense of 
time, trouble, and money, attended it to a conclusion, are circum- 
stances of weight, against which Mr. Puchilberg seems to have 
nothing to oppose, but a nomination by individuals of the crew, 
under which he has declined to act, and permitted the business 
to be done by another without contradiction from him. Against 
him, too, it is urged that he fomented the sedition which took 
place among them ; that he obtained this nomination from them 
while their minds were under ferment ; and that he has given 


no security for the faithful payment of the money to those en- 
titled to it. 

I will add to these, one more circumstance which appears to 
render it impossible that he should execute this trust. It is now 
several years since the right to this money arose. The persons 
in whom it originally vested were probably from different States 
in America. Many of them must be now dead ; and their rights 
passed on to their representatives. But who are their representa- 
tives ? The laws of some States prefer one degree of relations, 
those of others prefer another, there being no uniformity among 
the States on this point. Mr. Puchilberg, therefore, should know 
which of the parties are dead ; in what order the laws of their 
respective States call their relations to the succession ; and, in 
every case, which of those orders are actually in existence, and 
entitled to the share of the deceased. With the Atlantic Ocean 
between the principals and their substitute, your Excellency will 
perceive what an inexhaustible source of difficulties, of chicanery, 
and delay, this might furnish to a person who should find an in- 
terest in keeping this money, as long as possible, in his own 
hands. Whereas, if it be lodged in the treasury of Congress, 
they, by an easy reference to the tribunals of the different States, 
can have every one's portion immediately rendered to himself, if 
living ; and if dead, to such of his relations as the laws of his 
particular State prefer, and as shall be found actually living. I 
the rather urge this course, as I foresee that it will relieve your 
Excellency from numberless appeals, which these people will 
continually be making from the decisions of Mr. Puchilberg ; 
appeals likely to perpetuate that trouble of which you have al- 
ready had too much, and to which I am sorry to be obliged to 
add, by asking a peremptory order for the execution of what 
you were before pleased to decide on this subject. 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect 
respect, your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble ser- 



PARFS, August 6, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I now enclose you a draught of a treaty for the 
Barbary States, together with the notes Dr. Franklin left me. I 
have retained a press copy of this draught, so that by referring 
to any article, line and word, in it, you can propose amendments, 
and send them by the post, without anybody's being able to 
make much of the main subject. I shall be glad to receive any 
alterations you may think necessary, as soon as convenient, that 
this matter may be in readiness. I enclose also a letter contain- 
ing intelligence from Algiers. I know not how far it is to be re- 
lied on. My anxiety is extreme indeed, as to these treaties. We 
know that Congress have decided ultimately to treat. We know 
how far they will go. But unfortunately we know also, that a 
particular person has been charged with instructions for us, these 
five months, who neither comes nor writes to us. What are we 
to do ? It is my opinion, that if Mr. Lambe does not come in 
either of the packets (English or French) now expected, we 
ought to proceed. I therefore propose to you this term, as the 
end of our expectations of him, and that if he does not come, 
we send some other person. Dr. Bancroft or Captain Jones oc- 
curs to me as the fittest. If we consider the present object only, 
I think the former would be the most proper ; but if we look 
forward to the very probable event of war with those pirates, an 
important object would be obtained by Captain Jones' becoming 
acquainted with their ports, force, tactics, &c. Let me know 
your opinion on this. I have never mentioned it 'to either, but 1 
suppose either might be induced to go. Present me affectionately 
to the ladies and Colonel Smith, and be assured of the sincerity 
with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant. 


PARIS, August 7, 17S5. 

SIR, Your favor of July the 2d came duly to hand. The 
concern you therein express as to the effect of your pamphlet in 


America, induces me to trouble you with some observations on 
that subject. 

Prom my acquaintance with that country, I think I am able 
to judge, with some degree of certainty, of the manner in which 
it will have been received. Southward of the Chesapeake, it 
will find but few readers concurring with it in sentiment, on the 
subject of slavery. From the mouth to the head of the Chesa- 
peake, the bulk of the people will approve it in theory, and it 
will find a respectable minority ready to adopt it in practice ; a 
minority, which for weight and worth of character, preponder- 
ates against the greater number, who have not the courage to 
divest their families of a property, which, however, keeps their 
conscience unquiet. Northward of the Chesapeake, you may 
find, here and there, an opponent to your doctrine, as you may 
find, here and there, a robber and murderer ; but in no greater 
number. In that part of America, there being but few slaves, 
they can easily disencumber themselves of them ; and emancipa- 
tion is put into such a train, that in a few years there will be no 
slaves northward of Maryland. In Maryland, I do not find such 
a disposition to begin the redress of this enormity, as in Virginia. 
This is the next State to which we may turn our eyes for the in- 
teresting spectacle of justice, in conflict with avarice and oppress- 
ion ; a conflict wherein the sacred side is gaining daily recruits, 
from the influx into office of young men grown, and growing 
up. These have sucked in the principles of liberty, as it were, 
with their mother's milk ; and it is to them I look with anxiety 
to turn the fate of this question. Be not therefore discouraged. 
What you have written will do a great deal of good ; and could 
you still trouble yourself with our welfare, no man is more able 
to give aid to the laboring side. The College of William and 
Mary, in Williamsburg, since the re-modelling of its plan, is the 
place where are collected together all the young men of Virginia, 
under preparation for public life. They are there under the 
direction (most of them) of a Mr. Wythe, one of the most vir- 
tuous of characters, and whose sentiments on the subject of 
slavery are unequivocal. I am satisfied, if you could resolve to 


address an exhortation to those young men, with all that elo- 
quence of' which you are master, that its influence on the future 
decision of this important question would he great, perhaps deci- 
sive. Thus you see, that, so far from thinking you have cause 
to repent of what you have done, I wish you to do more, and 
wish it, on an assurance of its effect. The information I have 
received from America, of the reception of your pamphlet in the 
different States, agrees with the expectations I had formed. 

Our country is getting into a ferment against yours, or rather 
has caught it from yours. God knows how this will end ; hut 
assuredly in one extreme or the other. There can be no medium 
between those who have loved so much. I think the decision is 
in your power as yet, but will not be so long. 

I pray you to be assured of the sincerity of the esteem and 
respect with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most 
obedient humble servant. 


PARIS, August 10, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of the 4th instant came to hand yes- 
terday. I now enclose you the two Arrets against the importa- 
tion of foreign manufactures into this kingdom. The cause of 
the balance against this country, in favor of England, as well as 
its amount, is not agreed on. No doubt the rage for English 
manufactures must be a principal cause. The speculators in ex- 
change say also that those of the circumjacent countries who 
have a balance in their favor against France, /emit that balance 
to England from France. If so, it is possible that the English 
may count this balance twice ; that is, in summing their exports 
to one of these States, and their imports from it, they count the 
difference once in their favor, then a second time when they 
sum the remittances of cash they receive from France. There 
has been no Arret relative to our commerce since that of August, 


1784. And all the late advices from the French West Indies 
are, that they have now in their ports always three times as 
many vessels as there ever were before, and that the increase is 
principally from our States. I have now no further fears of that 
Arrefs standing its ground. When it shall become firm, I do 
not think its extension desperate. But whether the placing it on 
the firm basis of treaty be practicable, is a very different ques- 
tion. As far as it is possible to judge from appearances, I con- 
jecture that Crawford will do nothing. I infer this from some 
things in his conversation, and from an expression of the Count 
de Vergennes in a conversation with me yesterday. I pressed 
upon him the importance of opening their ports freely to us in 
the moment of the oppressions of the English regulations against 
us, and perhaps of the suspension of their commerce. He ad- 
mitted it, but said we had free ingress with our productions. I 
enumerated them to him, and showed him on what footing they 
were, and how they might be improved. We are to have further 
conversations on the subject. I am afraid the voyage to Fon- 
tainebleau will interrupt them. From the inquiries I have made, 
I find I cannot get a very small and indifferent house there for 
the season, (that is, for a month,) for less than one hundred or 
one hundred and fifty guineas. This is nearly the whole salary 
for the time, and would leave nothing to eat. I therefore can- 
not accompany the court thither, but I will endeavor to go there 
occasionally from Paris. They tell me it is the most favorable 
scene for business with the Count de Vergennes, because he is 
then more abstracted from the domestic applications. Count 
d'Aranda is not yet returned from the waters of Vichy. As soon 
as he returns, I will apply to him in the case of Mr. Watson. I 
will pray you to insure Houdon's life from the 27th of last 
month till his return to Paris. As he was to stay in America a 
month or two, he will probably be about six months absent ; but 
the three per cent, for the voyage being once paid, I suppose 
thay will insure his life by the month, whether his absence be 
longer or shorter. The sum to be insured is fifteen thousand 
livres tournois. If it be not necessary to pay the money imme- 


diately, there is a prospect of exchange becoming more favora- 
ble. But whenever it is necessary, be so good as to procure it 
by selling a draft on Mr. Grand, which I will take care shall be 
honored. With compliments to the ladies, 

I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant. 


PAUIS, August 14, 1785. 

SIR, I was honored, on the 22d ultimo, with the receipt of 
your letter of June the 15th ; and delivered the letter therein en- 
closed, from the President of Congress to the King. I took an 
opportunity of asking the Count de Vergennes, whether the Chev- 
alier Luzerne proposed to return to America ? He answered me 
that he did ; and that he was here, for a time only, to arrange his 
private affairs. Of course, this stopped my proceeding further, 
in compliance with the hint in your letter. I knew that the 
Chevalier Luzerne still retained the character of minister to Con- 
gress, which occasioned my premising the question I did. But, 
notwithstanding the answer, which indeed was the only one the 
Count de Vergennes could give me, I believe it is not expected 
that the Chevalier will return to America : that he is waiting an 
appointment here, to some of their embassies, or some other pro- 
motion, and in the meantime, as a favor, is permitted to retain 
his former character. Knowing the esteem borne him in America, 
I did not suppose it would be wished that I should add anything 
which might occasion an injury to him ; and the rather, as I pre- 
sumed that at this time, there did not exist the same reason for 
wishing the arrival of a minister in America, which, perhaps, 
existed there at the date of your letter. Count Adhemar is just 
arrived from London, on account of a paralytic disease with 
which he has been struck. It does not seem improbable that 
his pla.ce will be supplied, and perhaps by the Chevalier de la 


A French vessel has lately refused the salute to a British armed 
vessel in the channel. The charge des affaires of Great Britain, 
at this court, (their ambassador having gone to London a few days 
ago,) made this the subject of a conference with the Count de 
Vergennes, on Tuesday last. He told me that the Count ex- 
plained the transaction as the act of the individual master of the 
French vessel, not founded in any public orders. His earnest- 
ness, and his endeavors to find terms sufficiently soft to express 
the Count's explanation, had no tendency to lessen any doubts I 
might have entertained on this subject. I think it possible the 
refusal may have been by order : nor can I believe that Great 
Britain is in a condition, to resent it, if it was so. In this case, 
we shall see it repeated by France ; and her example will then 
be soon followed by other nations. The news-writers bring to- 
gether this circumstance, with the departure of the French am- 
bassador from London, and the English ambassador from Paris, the 
manoeuvring of a French fleet just off the channel, the collecting 
some English vessels of war in the channel, the failure of a com- 
mercial treaty between the two countries, and a severe Arret here 
against English manufactures, as foreboding war. It is possible 
that the fleet of manoBuvre, the refusal of the salute, and the Eng- 
lish fleet of observation, may have a connection with one another. 
But I am persuaded the other facts are totally independent of 
these, and of one another, and are accidentally brought together 
in point of time. Neither nation is in a condition to go to war : 
Great Britain, indeed, the least so of the two. The latter power, 
or rather, its monarch, as Elector of Hanover, has lately confeder- 
ated with the King of Prussia and others of the Germanic body, 
evidently in opposition to the Emperor's designs on Bavaria. An 
alliance, too, between the Empress of Russia and the republic of 
Venice, seems to have had him in view, as he had meditated 
some exchange of territory with that republic. This desertion of 
the powers heretofore thought friendly to him, seems to leave no 
issue for his ambition, but on the side of Turkey. His demarka- 
tion with that country is still unsettled. His difference with the 
Dutch is certainly agreed. The articles are not yet made public ; 


perhaps not. quite adjusted. Upon the whole, we may count on 
another year's peace in Europe, and that our friends will not, 
within that time, he brought into any embarrassments, which 
might encourage Great Britain to be difficult in settling the points 
still unsettled between us. 

You have, doubtless, seen in the papers, that this court was 
sending two vessels into the south sea, under the conduct of a 
Captain Peyrouse. They give out, that the object is merely for 
the improvement of our knowledge of the geography of that part 
of the globe. And certain it is, that they carry men of eminence, 
in different branches of science. Their loading, however, as de- 
tailed in conversations, and some other .circumstances, appeared 
to me to indicate some other design : perhaps that of colonizing 
on the western coast of America ; or, it may be, only to establish 
one or more factories there, for the fur trade. Perhaps we may 
be little interested in either of these objects. But we are inter- 
ested in another, that is, to know whether they are perfectly 
weaned from the desire of possessing continental colonies in 
America. Events might arise, which would render it very desi- 
rable for Congress to be satisfied they have no such wish. If 
they would desire a colony on the western side of America, I 
should not be quite satisfied that they would refuse one which 
should offer itself on the eastern side. Captain Paul Jones being 
at L'Orient, within a day's journey of Brest, where Captain Pey- 
rouse's vessels lay, I desired him, if he could not satisfy himself 
at L'Orient of the nature of this equipment, to go to Brest for 
that purpose : conducting himself so as to excite no suspicion 
that we attended at all to this expedition. His discretion can 
be relied on, and his expenses for so short a journey, will be a 
trifling price for satisfaction on this point. I hope, therefore, 
that my undertaking that the expenses of his journey shall be 
reimbursed him will not be disapproved. 

A gentleman, lately arrived from New York, tells me he thinks 
it will be satisfactory to Congress to be informed of the effect 
produced here by the insult of Longchamps on Monsieur de Mar- 
bois. Soon after my arrival in France last summer, it was the 


matter of a converssation between the Count de Vergennes and 
myself. I explained to him the effect of the judgment against 
Longchamps. He did not say that it was satisfactory, but neither 
did he say a word from which I could collect that it was not so 
The conversation was not official, because foreign to the character 
in which I then was. He has never mentioned a word on the 
subject to me since, and it was not for me to introduce it at any 
time. I have never once heard it mentioned in conversation, by 
any person of this country, and have no reason to suppose that 
there remains any uneasiness on the subject. I have indeed been 
told, that they had sent orders to make a formal demand of Long- 
champs from Congress, and had immediately countermanded these 
orders. You know whether this be true. If it be, I should sus- 
pect the first orders to have been surprised from them by some 
exaggeration, and that the latter was a correction of their error, in 
the moment of further reflection. Upon the whole, there cer-r 
tainly appears to me no reason to urge the State, in which the 
fact happened, to any violation of their laws, nor to set a prece- 
dent which might hereafter be used in cases more interesting to 
us than the late one. 

In a late conversation with the Count de Vergennes, he asked 
me if the condition of our finances was improving. He did not 
make an application of the question to the arrearages of their in- 
terest, though perhaps he meant that I should apply it. I told 
him . the impost still found obstacles, and explained to him the 
effects which I hoped from our land office. Your letter of the 
15th of April, did not come to hand till the 27th ultimo. I en- 
close a letter from Mr. Dumas to the President of Congress, and 
accompany the present with the Leyden Gazette and Gazette of 
France, from the date last sent you to the present time. 

I have the honor to be, with high esteem, Sir, your most obe- 
dient, and most humble servant. 



PARIS, August 14, 1785. 

, The letter of June 18th, signed by Dr. Franklin and 
myself, is the last addressed to you from hence on the objects of 
the general commission. As circumstances rendered it necessary 
that the signature of the Prussian treaty, whenever it should be 
in readiness, should be made separately, the intervention of a 
person of confidence between the Prussian Plenipotentiary and 
us became also requisite. His office would be to receive the 
duplicates of the treaty here, signed by Dr. Franklin and myself, 
to carry them to London to Mr. Adams, and to the Hague to 
Baron Thulemeyer for their signatures. Moreover, to take hence 
the original of our full powers to show to Baron Thulemeyer, 
and the copy of his which he has before communicated to us, to 
ask from him a sight of the original, to compare the copy with 
it, and certify the latter to be true. Mr. Adams, Dr. Franklin, 
and myself, therefore, had concluded to engage Mr. Short (a 
gentleman of Virginia who lives with me at present) to transact 
this business, and to invest him with the character of Secretary 
pro hac vice, in order that his signature of the truth of the copy 
of Baron Thulemcyer's full powers might authenticate that copy. 
On the receipt of the letter No. 1, therefore, from that minister, 
Mr. Short set out hence with the necessary papers. By a letter 
lately received from him, I expect he left London for the Hague 
about the 10th instant, and that the treaty is ultimately executed 
by this time. In reppect to the desire expressed by Baron 
Thulemeyer in his letter, we associated Mr. Dumas with Mr. 
Short to assist in the exchange of signatures and other ceremonies 
of execution. We agreed to bear Mr. Short's expenses, and 
have thought that a guinea a day (Sundays excluded) would be 
a proper compensation for his trouble and the necessary equip- 
ments for his journey, which could not enter into the account of 
travelling expenses. I hope by the first safe conveyance to bo 
able to forward to you the original of the treaty. No 2 is my 


answer lo Baron Thulemeyer's letter, No. 3 our instructions to 
Mr. Short, and No. 4 letter to Mr. Dumas. 

Mr. Lambe's delay gives me infinite unneasiness. You will 
see by the inclosed papers, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, sent me by Mr. 
Carmichael, that the Emperor of Morocco, at the instance of the 
Spanish Court, has delivered up the crew of the Betsey. No. 8, 
also received from Mr. Carmichael, is a list of the articles given 
the Emperor of Morocco the last year by the States General. 
It is believed that the Spanish negociator at Algiers has con- 
cluded a peace with that State, and has agreed to give them a 
million of dollars, besides a very considerable quantity of things 
in kind. The treaty meets with difficulties in the ratification, 
perhaps the exorbitance of the price may occasion them. 
Rumors are spread abroad that they are pointing their prepara- 
tions at us. The enclosed paper, No. 9, is the only colorable 
evidence of this which has come to my knowledge. I have 
proposed to Mr. Adams that if Mr. Lambe does not come either 
in the French or English packet, then (August 6) next expected, 
to send some person immediately to negotiate these treaties, on 
the presumption that Mr. Lambe's purpose has been changed. 
We shall still be at a loss for the instructions of which he is said 
to have been the bearer. I expect Mr. Adams's answer on this 

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect 
and esteem, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant. 


PARIS, August 15, 1785. 

SIR, In the conversation which I had the honor of having 
with your Excellency, a few days ago, on the importance oi 
placing, at this time, the commerce between France and Ame- 
rica on the best footing possible, among other objects of this 
commerce, that of tobacco was mentioned, as susceptible of 

VOL. i. 25 


greater encouragement and advantage to the two nations. Al- 
ways distrusting what I say in a language I speak so imper- 
fectly, I will beg your permission to state, in English, the sub- 
stance of what I had then the honor to observe, adding some 
more particular details for your consideration. 

I find the consumption of tobacco in France estimated at 
from fifteen to thirty millions of pounds. The most probable 
estimate, however, places it at twenty-four millions. 

This costing eight sous the pound, delivered in a port of France, 

amounts to 9,600,000 livres. 

Allow six sous a pound, as the average cost of the different manu- 
factures 7,200,000 

The revenue which the King derives from this, is something less 

than 30,000,000 

Which would make the cost of the whole 46,800,000 

But it is sold to the consumers at an average of three livres the 

pound 72,000,000 

There remain, then, for the expenses of collection . . . 25. 200,000 Tivres. 

This is within a sixth as much as the King receives, and so 
gives nearly one half for collecting the other. It would be 
presumption in me, a stranger, to suppose my numbers perfectly 
accurate. I have taken them from the best and most disinter- 
ested authorities I could find. Your Excellency will know how 
far they are wrong ; and should you find them considerably 
wrong, yet I am persuaded you will find, after strictly correcting 
them, that the collection of this branch of the revenue still 
absorbs too much. 

My apology for making these remarks will, I hope, be found 
in my wishes to improve the commerce between the two nations, 
and the interest which my own country will derive from this 
improvement. The monopoly of the purchase of tobacco in 
France discourages both the French and American merchant 
from bringing it here, and from taking in exchange the manu- 
factures and productions of France. It is contrary to the spirit 
of trade, and to the dispositions of merchants, to carry a com- 
modity to any market where but one person is allowed to buy it, 


and where, of course, that person fixes its price, which the seller 
must receive, or re-export his commodity, at the loss of his voy- 
age thither. Experience accordingly shows, that they carry it 
to other markets, and that they take in exchange the merchan- 
dise of the place where they deliver it. I am misinformed, if 
France has not been furnished from a neighboring nation with 
considerable quantities of tobacco since the peace, and been 
obliged to pay there in coin, what might have been paid here in 
manufactures, had the French and American merchants brought 
the tobacco originally here. I suppose, too, that the purchases 
made by the Farmers General, in America, are paid for chiefly 
in coin, which coin is also remitted directly hence to England, 
and makes an important part of the balance supposed to be in 
favor of that nation against this. Should the Farmers General, 
by themselves, or by the company to whom they may commit 
the procuring these tobaccos from America, require, for the satis- 
faction of government on this head, the exportation of a propor- 
tion of merchandise in exchange for them, it would be an un- 
promising expedient. It would only commit the exports, as well 
as imports, between France and America, to a monopoly, which, 
being secure against rivals in the sale of the merchandise of 
France, would not be likely to sell at such moderate prices as 
might encourage its consumption there, and enable it to bear a 
competition with similar articles from other countries. I am per- 
suaded this exportation of coin may be prevented, and that of 
commodities effected, by leaving both operations to the French 
and American merchants, instead of the Farmers General. They 
will import a sufficient quantity of tobacco, if they are allowed 
a perfect freedom in the sale ; and they will receive in payment, 
wines, oils, brandies, and manufactures, instead of coin ; forcing 
each other, by their competition, to bring tobaccos of the best 
quality ; to give to the French manufacturer the full worth of 
his merchandise, and to sell to the American consumer at the 
lowest price they can afford ; thus encouraging him to use, in 
preference, the merchandise of this country. 

It is not necessary that this exchange should be favored by 


any loss of revenue to the King. I do not mean to urge any- 
thing which shall injure either his Majesty or his people. On 
the contrary, the measure I have the honor of proposing, will 
increase his revenue, while it places both the seller and buyer on 
a better footing. It is not for me to say, what system of collec- 
tion may be best adapted to the organization of this government ; 
nor whether any useful hints may be taken from the practice of 
that country, which has heretofore been the principal entrepot 
for this commodity. Their system is simple and little expensive. 
The importer, there, pays the whole duty to the King ; and as 
this would be inconvenient for him to do before he has sold his 
tobacco, he is permitted, on arrival, to deposit it in the King's 
warehouse, under the locks of the King's officer. As soon as he 
has sold it, he goes with the purchaser to the warehouse, the 
money is there divided between the King and him, to each his 
proportion, and the purchaser takes out the tobacco. The pay- 
ment of the King's duty is thus ensured in ready money. What 
is the expense of its collection, I cannot say ; but it certainly 
need not exceed six livres a hogshead of one thousand pounds. 
That government levies a higher duty on tobacco than is levied 
here. Yet so tempting and so valuable is the perfect liberty of 
sale, that the merchant carries it there, and finds his account in 
doing so. 

If, by a simplification of the collection of the King's duty on 
tobacco, the cost of that collection can be reduced even to five 
per cent., or a million and a half, instead of twenty-five millions ; 
the price to the consumer will be reduced from three to two livres 
the pound. For thus I calculate : 

The cost, manufacture, and revenue, on twenty -four million pounds 

of tobacco boing (as before stated) 46,800,000 livres. 

Five per cent, on thirty millions of livres, expenses of collection 1 500,000 

Give -what the consumers would pay, being about two livres a 

pound ... 48,300,000 

But they pay at present three livres a pound .... 72,000,000 

The difference is 23,700,000 

The price, being thus reduced one-third, would be brought 


within the reach of a new and numerous circle of the people, 
who cannot, at present, afford themselves this luxury. The con- 
sumption, then, would probably increase, and perhaps, in the same 
if not a greater proportion, with the reduction of the price ; that 
is to say, from twenty-four to thirty-six millions of pounds ; and 
the King, continuing to receive twenty-five sous on the pound, 
as at present, would receive forty-five instead of thirty millions 
of livres, while his subjects would pay but two livres for an ob- 
ject which has heretofore cost them three. Or if, in event, the 
consumption were not to be increased, he would levy only forty- 
eight millions on his people, where seventy-two millions are now 
levied, and would leave twenty-four millions in their pockets, 
either to remain there, or to be levied in some other form, should 
the state of revenue require it. It will enable his subjects, also, 
to dispose of between nine and ten millions worth of their pro- 
duce and manufactures, instead of sending nearly that sum an- 
nually, in coin, to enrich a neighboring nation. 

I have heard two objections made to the suppression of this 
monopoly. 1. That it might increase the importation of tobac- 
co in contraband. 2. That it would lessen the abilities of the 
Farmers General to make occasional loans of money to the pub- 
lic treasury. These objections will surely be better answered by 
those who are better acquainted than I am with the details and 
circumstances of the country. With respect to the first, how- 
ever, I may observe, that contraband does not increase on lessen- 
ing the temptations to it. It is now encouraged by those who 
engage in it being able to sell for sixty sous what cost but four- 
teen, leaving a gain of forty-six sous. When the price shall be 
reduced from sixty to forty sous, the gain will be but twenty- 
six, that is to say, a little more than one-half of what it is at pre- 
sent. It does not seem a natural consequence then, that contra- 
band should be increased by reducing its gain nearly one-half. 
As to the second objection, if we suppose (for elucidation and 
without presuming to fix) the proportion of the farm on tobacco, 
at one-eighth of the whole mass farmed, the abilities of the 
Farmers General to lend, will be reduced one-eighth, that is, 


they can hereafter lend only seven millions, where heretofore 
they have lent eight. It is to be considered then, whether this 
eighth (or other proportion, whatever it be) is worth the annual 
sacrifice of twenty-four millions, or if a much smaller sacrifice 
to other moneyed men, will not produce the same loans of money 
in the ordinary way. 

While the advantages of an increase of revenue to the crown, 
a diminution of impost on the people, and a payment in mer- 
chandise, instead of money, are conjectured as likely to result to 
France from a suppression of the monopoly on tobacco, we have 
also reason to hope some advantages on our part ; and this hope 
alone could justify my entering into the present details. I do 
not expect this advantage will be by any augmentation of price. 
The other markets of Europe have too much influence on this 
article to admit any sensible augmentation of price to take place. 
But the advantage I principally expect is an increase of consump- 
tion. This will give us a vent for so much more, and, of con- 
sequence, find employment for so many more cultivators of the 
earth ; and in whatever proportion it increases this production 
for us, in the same proportion will it procure additional vent for 
the merchandise of France, and employment for the hands which 
produce it. I expect, too, that by bringing our merchants 
here, they would procure a number of commodities in exchange, 
better in kind, and cheaper in price. It is with sincerity I add, 
that warm feelings are indulged in my breast by the further 
hope, that it would bind the two nations still closer in friend- 
ship, by binding them in interest. In truth, no two countries 
are better calculated for the exchanges of commerce. France 
wants rice, tobacco, potash, furs, and ship-timber. We want 
wines, brandies, oils, and manufactures. There is an affection, 
too, between the two people, which disposes them to favor one 
another. If they do not come together, then, to make the ex- 
changes in their own ports, it shows there is some substantial ob- 
structions in the way. We have had the benefit of too many 
proofs of his Majesty's friendly disposition towards the United 
States, and know too well his affectionate care of his own sub- 


jects, to doubt his willingness to remove these obstructions, if 
they can be unequivocally pointed out. It is for his wisdom to 
decide, whether the monopoly,which is the subject of this letter, 
be deservedly classed with the principal of these. It is a great 
comfort to me, too, that, in presenting this to the mind of his 
Majesty, your Excellency will correct my ideas where an insuf- 
ficient knowledge of facts may have led me into error ; and that, 
while the interests of the King and of his people are the first 
objects of your attention, an additional one will be presented by 
those dispositions toward us, which have heretofore so often be- 
friended our nation. 

I avail myself of this occasion to repeat the assurance of that 
high respect and esteem, with which I have the honor to be 
your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant. 


PARIS, August 17, 1785. 

SIR, Mine of the 13th informed you that I had written to 
the M. de Castries on the subject of Puchilberg's interference. 
Yesterday I received his answer dated the 12th. In that he 
says that he is informed by the Ordonneteur that he has not 
been able to get an authentic roll of the crew of the Alliance, 
and that, in the probable case of there having been some French 
subjects among them, it will be just that you should give secu- 
rity to repay their portions. I wrote to him this morning, that 
as you have obliged yourself to transmit the money to the treas- 
ury of this United States, it does not seem just to require you to 
be answerable for money which will be no longer within your 
power ; that the repayment of such portions will be incumbent 
on Congress ; that I will immediately solicit their orders to have 
all such claims paid by their banker here; and that, should any 
be presented before I receive their orders, I will undertake to di- 
rect the banker of the United States to pay them, that there may 


be no delay. I trust that this will remove the difficulty, and 
that it is the last which will be offered. The ultimate answer 
shall be communicated the moment I receive it. Having pledged 
myself for the claims which may be offered before I receive the 
orders of Congress, it is necessary to arm myself with the proper 
checks. Can you give me a roll of the crew, pointing out the 
French subjects ? If not, can you recollect personally the French 
subjects, and name them to me, and the sums they are entitled 
to ? If there were none such, yet the roll will be material, be- 
cause I have no doubt that Puchilberg will excite claims upon 
me, either true or false. 

I am, with much respect, Sir, 

Your most obedient humble servant. 


PARIS, August IS, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, My last to you was of June the 22d, with a post- 
script of July the 14th. Yours of June the 27th came to hand 
the 23d of July, and that of July the 28th came to hand the 
10th instant. The papers enclosed in the last shall be communi- 
cated to Mr. Adams. I see with extreme satisfaction and grati- 
tude the friendly interposition of the court of Spain with the 
Emperor of Morocco on the subject of the brig Betsey, and I am 
persuaded it will produce the happiest effects in America. Those, 
who are intrusted with the public affairs there, are sufficiently 
sensible how essential it is for our interest to cultivate peace with 
Spain, and they will be pleased to see a corresponding disposition 
in that court. The late good office of emancipating a number 
of our countrymen from slavery is peculiarly calculated to pro- 
duce a sensation among our people, and to dispose them to relish 
and adopt the pacific and friendly views of their leaders towards 
Spain. We hear nothing yet of Mr. Lambe. I have therefore 
lately proposed to Mr. Adams, that if he does not come in the 


French or English packet of this month, we will wait no longer. 
If he accedes to the proposition, you will be sure of hearing of, 
and, perhaps, of seeing, some agent proceeding on that business. 
The immense sum, said to have been proposed on the part of 
Spain to Algiers, leaves us little hope of satisfying their avarice. 
It may happen, then, that the interests of Spain and America may 
call for a concert of proceedings against that State. The dispo- 
sitions of the Emperor of Morocco give us better hopes there. 
May not the affairs of the Musquito coast, and our western ports, 
produce another instance of a common interest ? Indeed, I 
meet this correspondence of interest in so many quarters, that 
I look with anxiety to the issue of Mr. Gardoqui's mission, 
hoping it will be a removal of the only difficulty at present 
subsisting between the two nations, or which is likely to 

Congress are not likely to adjourn this summer. They have 
purchased the Indian right of soil to about fifty millions of acres 
of land between the Ohio and lakes, and expected to make an- 
other purchase of an equal quantity. They have, in consequence, 
passed an ordinance for disposing of their lands, and I think a 
very judicious one. They propose to sell them at auction for not 
less than a dollar an acre, receiving their own certificates of debt 
as money. I am of opinion, all the certificates of our domestic 
debt will immediately be exchanged for land. Our foreign debt, 
in that case, will soon be discharged. New York and Rhode Is- 
land still refuse the impost. A general disposition is taking place 
to commit the whole management of our commerce to Congress. 
This has been much promoted by the interested policy of Eng- 
land, which, it was apparent, could not be counter-worked by 
the States separately. In the meantime, the other great towns 
are acceding to the proceedings of Boston for annihilating, in a 
great measure, their commercial connections with Great Britain. 
I will send the cypher by a gentleman, who goes from here to 
Madrid about a month hence. It shall be a copy of the one I 
gave Mr. Adams. The letter of Don Gomez has been delivered 


at the hotel of the Portuguese ambassador, who is, however, in 
the country. 

I am, with much respect, dear Sir, 

Your most obedient humble servant. 


PARIS, August 18, 1785. 


I am much pleased with the people of this country. The 
roughness of the human mind are so thoroughly rubbed off with 
them, that it seems as if one might glide through a whole life 
among them without a jostle. Perhaps, too, their manners may 
be the best calculated for happiness to a people in their situation, 
but I am convinced they fall far short of effecting a happiness so 
temperate, so uniform, and so lasting as is generally enjoyed with 
us. The domestic bonds here are absolutely done away, and 
where can their compensation be found? Perhaps they may 
catch some moments of transport above the level of the ordinary 
tranquil joy we experience, but they are separated by long inter- 
vals, during which all the passions are at sea without rudder or 
compass. Yet, fallacious as the pursuits of happiness are, they 
seem on the whole to furnish the most effectual abstraction frcm 
a contemplation of the hardness of their government. Indeed, 
it is difficult to conceive how so good a people, with so good a 
King, so well-disposed rulers in general, so genial a climate, so 
fertile a soil, should be rendered so ineffectual for producing 
human happiness by one single curse, that of a bad form of 
government. But it is a fact, in spite of the mildness of their 
governors, the people are ground to powder by the vices of the 
form of government. Of twenty millions of people supposed to 
be in France, I am of opinion there are nineteen millions more 
wretched, more accursed in every circumstance of human exist- 


ence than the most conspicuously wretched individual of the 
whole United States. I beg your pardon for getting into poli- 
tics. I will add only one sentiment more of that character, that 
is, nourish peace with their persons, hut war against their man- 
ners. Every step we take towards the adoption of their man- 
ners is a step to perfect misery. I pray you to write to me often. 
Do not you turn politician too ; hut write me all the small news 
the news about persons and about states ; tell me who dies, that I 
may meet these disagreeable events in detail, and not all at once 
when I return ; who marry, who hang themselves because they 
cannot marry, &c. Present me in the most friendly terms to 
Mrs. House and Browse, and be assured of the sincerity with 
which I am, dear Madam, 

Your affectionate friend and servant. 


PARIS, August 19, 1T85. 

DEAR PETER, I received, by Mr. Mazzei, your letter of April 
the 20th. I am much mortified to hear that you have lost so 
much time ; and that, when you arrived in Williamsburg, you 
were not at all advanced from what you were when you left 
Monticello. Time now begins to be precious to you. Every 
day you lose will retard a day your entrance on that public 
stage whereon you may begin to be useful to yourself. How- 
ever, the way to repair the loss is to improve the future time. 
I trust, that with your dispositions, even the acquisition of 
science is a pleasing employment. I can assure you, that the 
possession of it is, what (next to an honest heart) will above all 
things render you dear to your friends, and give you fame and 
promotion in your own country. When your mind shall be well 
improved with science, nothing will be necessary to place you in 
the highest points of view, but to pursue the interests of your 
country, the interests of your friends, and your own interests 


also, with the purest integrity, the most chaste honor. The de- 
fect of these virtues can never be made up by all the other ac- 
quirements of body and mind. Make these, then, your first ob- 
ject. Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the 
earth itself and all it contains, rather than do an immoral act. 
And never suppose, that in any possible situation, or under any 
circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, how- 
ever slightly so it may appear to you. Whenever you are to do 
a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask your- 
self how you would act were all the world looking at you, and 
act accordingly. Encourage all your virtuous dispositions, and 
exercise them whenever an opportunity arises ; being assured 
that they will gain strength by exercise, as a limb of the body 
does, and that exercise will make them habitual. From the 
practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will de- 
rive the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in 
the moment of death. If ever you find yourself environed with 
difficulties and perplexing circumstances, out of which you are 
at a loss how to extricate yourself, do what is right, and be as- 
sured that that will extricate you the best out of the worst situa- 
tions. Though you cannot see, when you take one step, what 
will be the next, yet follow truth, justice, and plain dealing, and 
never fear their leading you out of the labyrinth, in the easiest 
manner possible. The knot which you thought a Gordian one, 
will untie itself before you. Nothing is so mistaken as the sup- 
position, that a person is to extricate himself from a difficulty, 
by intrigue, by chicanery, by dissimulation, by trimming, by 
an untruth, by an injustice. This increases the difficulties ten- 
fold ; and those, who pursue these methods, get themselves so 
involved at length, that they can turn no way but their infamy 
becomes more exposed. It is of great importance to set a reso- 
lution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no 
vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible ; and he who permits 
himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second 
and third time, till at length it becomes habitual ; he tells lies 
without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing 


him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, 
and in time depraves all its good dispositions. 

An honest heart being the first blessing, a knowing head is 
the second. It is time for you now to begin to be choice in 
your reading ; to begin to pursue a regular course in it ; and not 
to suffer yourself to be turned to the right or left by reading 
anything out of that course. I have long ago digested a plan for 
you, suited to the circumstances in which you will be placed. 
This I will detail to you, from time to time, as you advance. 
For the present, I advise you to begin a course of ancient his- 
tory, reading everything in the original and not in translations. 
First read Goldsmith's history of Greece. This will give you a 
digested view of that field. Then take up ancient history in 
the detail, reading the following books, in the following order : 
Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophontis Anabasis, Arrian, Quintus 
Curtius, Diodorus Siculus, Justin. This shall form the first 
stage of your historical reading, and is all 1 need mention to you 
now. The next will be of Roman history.* From that, we 
will come down to modern history. In Greek and Latin poetry, 
you have read or will read at school, Virgil, Terence, Horace, 
Anacreon, Theocritus, Homer, Euripides, Sophocles. Read 
also Milton's Paradise Lost, Shakspeare, Ossian, Pope's and 
Swift's works, in order to form your style in your own lan- 
guage. In morality, read Epictetus, Xenophontis Memorabilia, 
Plato's Socratic dialogues, Cicero's philosophies, Antoninus, and 
Seneca. In order to assure a certain progress in this reading, 
consider what hours you have free from the school and the ex- 
ercises of the school. Give about two of them, every day, to 
exercise ; for health must not be sacrificed to learning. A strong 
body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I 
advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the 
body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the 
mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, 
are too violent for the body, and stamp no character on the 

* Livy, Sallust, Caesar, Cicero's epistles, Suetonius. Tacitus, Gibbon. 


mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion of 
your walks. Never think of taking a book with you. The 
object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore 
not permit yourself even to think while you walk ; but divert 
yourself by the objects surrounding you. Walking is the best 
possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. The 
Europeans value themselves on having subdued the horse to 
the uses of man ; but I doubt whether we have not lost more 
than we have gained, by the use of this animal. No one has 
occasioned so much the degeneracy of the human body. An 
Indian goes on foot nearly as far in a day, for a long journey, 
as an enfeebled white does on his horse ; and he will tire the 
best horses. There is no habit you will value so much as that 
of walking far without fatigue. I would advise you to take 
your exercise in the afternoon : not because it is the best time 
for exercise, for certainly it is not ; but because it is the best 
time to spare from your studies ; and habit will soon reconcile it 
to health, and render it nearly as useful as if you gave to that 
the more precious hours of the day. A little walk of half an 
hour, in the morning, when you first rise, is advisable also. It 
shakes off sleep, and produces other good effects in the animal 
economy. Rise at a fixed and an early hour, and go to bed at 
a fixed and early hour also. Sitting up late at night is injurious 
to the health, and not useful to the mind. Having ascribed 
proper hours to exercise, divide what remain (I mean of your 
vacant hours) into three portions. Give the principal to History, 
the other two, which should be shorter, to Philosophy and 
Poetry. Write to me once every month or two, and let me 
know the progress you make. Tell me in what manner you 
employ every hour in the day. The plan I have proposed for 
you is adapted to your present situation only. When that is 
changed, I shall propose a corresponding change of plan. I 
have ordered the following books to be sent to you from Lon- 
don, to the care of Mr. Madison : Herodotus, Thucydides, 
Xenophon's Hellenics, Anabasis and Memorabilia, Cicero's 
works, Baretti's Spanish and English Dictionary, Martin's Philo- 


sophical Grammar, and Martin's Philosophia Britannica. I will 
send you the following from hence : Bezout's Mathematics, De 
la Lande's Astronomy, Muschenbrock's Physics, duintus Cur- 
tius, Justin, a Spanish Grammar, and some Spanish books. 
You will observe that Martin, Bezout, De la Lande, and Musch- 
enbrock, are not in the preceding plan. They are not to be 
opened till you go to the University. You are now, I expect, 
learning French. You must push this ; because the books 
which will be put into your hands when you advance into 
Mathematics, Natural philosophy, Natural history, &c., will be 
mostly French, these sciences being better treated by the French 
than the English writers. Our future connection with Spain 
renders that the most necessary of the modern languages, after 
the French. When you become a public man, you may have 
occasion for it, and the circumstance of your possessing that 
language, may give you a preference over other candidates. I 
have nothing further to add for the present, but husband well 
your time, cherish your instructors, strive to make everybody 
your friend ; and be assured that nothing will be so pleasing as 
your success to, Dear Peter, 

Yours affectionately. 


PARIS, August 20, 1785. 

DEAR PAGE, I received your friendly letter of April the 28th, 
by Mr. Mazzei, on the 22d of July. That of the month before, 
by Monsieur le Croix, has not come to hand. This correspon- 
dence is grateful to some of my warmest feelings, as the friend- 
ships of my youth are those which adhere closest to me, and in 
which I most confide. My principal happiness is now in the 
retrospect of life. 

I thank you for your notes of your operations on the Pennsyl- 
vania boundary. I am in hopes that from yourself, Madison, 


Rittenhouse or Hatchings, I shall receive a chart of the line as 
actually run. It will be a great present to me. I think Hutch- 
ings promised to send it to me. I have been much pleased to 
hear you had it in contemplation, to endeavor to establish Rit- 
tenhouse in our College. This would be an immense acquisi- 
tion, and would draw youth to it from every part of the conti- 
nent. You will do much more honor to our society, on reviving 
it, by placing him at its head, than so useless a member as I 
should be. I have been so long diverted from this my favorite 
line, and that, too, without acquiring an attachment to my adopted 
one, that I am become a mongrel, of no decided order, unowned 
by any, and incapable of serving any. I should feel myself out 
of my true place too, to stand before McLurg. But why with- 
draw yourself? You have more zeal, more application, and more 
constant attention to the subjects proper to the society, and can, 
therefore, serve them best. 

The affair of the Emperor and Dutch is settled, though not 
signed. The particulars have not yet transpired. That of the 
Bavarian exchange is dropped, and his views on Venice defeated. 
The alliance of Russia with Venice, to prevent his designs in 
that quarter, and that of the Hanoverian Elector with the King 
of Prussia and other members of the Germanic body, to prevent 
his acquisition of Bavaria, leave him in a solitary situation. In 
truth, he has lost much reputation by his late manosuvres. He is 
a restless, ambitious character, aiming at everything, persevering 
in nothing, taking up designs without calculating the force which 
will be opposed to him, and dropping them on the appearance of 
firm opposition. He has some just views, and much activity. 
The only quarter in which the peace of Europe seems at present 
capable of being disturbed, is on that of the Porte. It is be- 
lieved that the Emperor and Empress have schemes in contem- 
plation, for driving the Turks out of Europe. Were this with a 
view to re-establish the native Greeks in the sovereignty of their 
own country, I could wish them success, and to see driven from 
that delightful country a set of barbarians, with whom an oppo- 
sition to all science is an article of religion. The modern Greek 


is not yet so far departed from its ancient model, but that we 
might still hope to see the language of Homer and Demosthenes 
flow with purity, from the lips of a free and ingenious people. 
But these powers have in object to divide the country between 
themselves. This is only to substitute one set of barbarians for 
another, breaking, at the same time, the balance among the Eu- 
ropean powers. You have been told, with truth, that the Em- 
peror of Morocco has shown a disposition to enter into treaty 
with us ; but not truly, that Congress has not attended to his ad- 
vances, and thereby disgusted him. It is long since they took 
measures to meet his advances. But some unlucky incidents 
have delayed their effect. His dispositions continue good. As 
a proof of this, he has lately released freely, and clothed well, 
the crew of an American brig he took last winter ; the only ves- 
sel ever taken from us by any of the States of Barbary. But 
what is the English of these good dispositions? Plainly this ; he 
is ready to receive us into the number of his tributaries. What 
will be the amount of tribute, remains yet to be known, but it 
probably will not be as small as you may have conjectured. It 
will surely be more than a free people ought to pay to a power 
owning only four or five frigates, under twenty-two guns : lie has 
not a port into which a larger vessel can enter. The Algerines 
possess fifteen or twenty frigates, from that size up to fifty guns. 
Disinclination on their part, has lately broken off a treaty be- 
tween Spain and them, whereon they were to have received a 
million of dollars, besides great presents in naval stores. What 
sum they intend we shall pay, I cannot say. Then follow Tunis 
and Tripoli. You will probably find the tribute to all these pow- 
ers make such a proportion of the federal taxes, as that every man 
will feel them sensibly, when he pays those taxes. The ques- 
tion is, whether their peace or war will be cheapest ? But it is a 
question which should be addressed to our honor, as well as our 
avarice. IN or does it respect us as to these pirates only, but as tc 
the nations of Europe. If we wish our commerce to be free 
and uninsulted, we must let these nations see, that we have an 
energy which at present they disbelieve. The low opinion they 
VOL. i. 23 


entertain of our powers, cannot fail to involve us soon, in a 
naval war. 

I shall send you with this, if I can, and if not, then by the 
first good conveyance, the Connoissance de terns for the years 
1786 and 1787, being all as yet published. You will find in 
these the tables for the planet Herschel, as far as the observations 
hitherto made, admit them to be calculated. You will see, also, 
that Herschel was only the first astronomer who discovered it to 
be a planet, and not the first who saw it. Mayer saw it in the 
year 1756, and placed it in the catalogue of his zodiacal stars, 
supposing it to be such. A Prussian astronomer, in the year 1781, 
observed that the 964th star of Mayer's catalogue was missing ; 
and the calculations now prove that at the time Mayer saw his 
964th star, the planet Herschel should have been precisely in the 
place where he noted that star. I shall send you also a little 
publication here, called the Bibliotheque Physico-ceconomique. 
It will communicate all the improvements and new discoveries 
in the arts and sciences, made in Europe for some years past. I 
shall be happy to hear from you often. Details, political and lit- 
erary, and even of the small history of our country, are the most 
pleasing communications possible. Present me affectionately to 
Mrs. Page, and to your family, in the members of which, though 
unknown to me, I feel an interest on account of their parents. 
Believe me to be with warm esteem, dear Page, your sincere 
friend and servant. 


PARIS, August 22, 1785. 

SIR, I was honored yesterday with your Excellency's letter 
of June the 16th, enclosing the resolution of Assembly relative 
to the bust of the M. de La Fayette. I shall render cheerfully 
any services I can in aid of Mr. Barclay for carrying this resolu- 
tion into effect. The M. de La Fayette being to pass into Ger- 


many and Prussia, it was thought proper to take the model of 
his bust in plaister before his departure. Monsieur Houdon was 
engaged to do it, and did it accordingly. So far Mr. Barclay 
had thought himself authorized to go in consequence of orders 
formerly received. You will be so good as to instruct me as to 
the moneys hereafter to be remitted to me, whether I am to ap- 
ply them solely to the statue of General Washington, or to that, 
and the Marquis's bust in common, as shall be necessary. Sup- 
posing you wish to know the application of the money's remit- 
ted from time to time, I state hereon an account thereof so far as 
I am able at present. Before your receipt of this letter I am in 
hopes mine of July llth, by Monsieur Houdon, will have come to 
your hands ; in that I enclosed you a copy of the contract with him. 
I have the honor to be, with due respect, your Excellency's 
most obedient, and most humble servant, 



(Private.) PARIS, August 23, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I shall sometimes ask your permission to write 
you letters, not official, but -private. The present is of this kind, 
and is occasioned by the question proposed in yours of June the 
14th ; " whether it would be useful to us, to cany all our own 
productions, or none ?" 

Were we perfectly free to decide this question, I should reason 
as follows. We have now lands enough to employ an infinite 
number of people in their cultivation. Cultivators of the earth 
are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the 
most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their 
country, and wedded to its liberty and interests, by the most 
lasting bonds. As long, therefore, as they can find employment 
in this line, I would not convert them into mariners, artisans, or 
anything else. But our citizens will find employment in this 
line, till their numbers, and of course their productions, become 


too great for the demand, both internal and foreign. This is not 
the case as yet, and probably will not be for a considerable time. 
As soon as it is, the surplus of hands must be turned to some- 
thing else. I should then, perhaps, wish to turn them to the sea 
in preference to manufactures ; because, comparing the charac- 
ters of the two classes, I find the former the most valuable cit- 
izens. I consider the class of artificers as the panders of vice, 
and the instruments by which the liberties of a country are gen- 
erally overturned. However, we are not free to decide this 
question on principles of theory only. Our people are decided 
in the opinion, that it is necessary for us to take a share in the oc- 
cupation of the ocean, and their established habits induce them to 
require that the sea be kept open to them, and that that line of 
policy be pursued, which will render the use of that element to 
them as great as possible. I think it a duty in those entrusted 
with the administration of their affairs, to conform themselves to 
the decided choice of their constituents ; and that therefore, we 
should, in every instance, preserve an equality of right to them 
in the transportation of commodities, in the right of fishing, and 
in the other uses of the sea. 

But what will be the consequence ? Frequent wars without a 
doubt. Their property will be violated on the sea, and in foreign 
ports, their persons will be insulted, imprisoned, &c., for pretended 
debts, contracts, crimes, contraband, &c., &c. These insults 
must be resented, even if we had no feelings, yet to prevent their 
eternal repetition; or, in other words, our commerce on the 
ocean and in other countries, must be paid for by frequent war. 
The justest dispositions possible in ourselves, will not secure us 
against it. It would be necessary that all other nations were 
just also. Justice indeed, on our part, will save us from those 
wars which would have been produced by a contrary disposition. 
But how can we prevent those produced by the wrongs of other 
nations ? By putting ourselves in a condition to punish them. 
Weakness provokes insult and injury, while a condition to punish, 
often prevents them. This reasoning leads to the necessity of 
some naval force ; that being the only weapon by which we can 


reach an enemy. I think it to our interest to punish the first in- 
sult ; because an insult unpunished is the parent of many others. 
We are not, at this moment, in a condition to do it, hut we 
should put ourselves into it, as soon as possible. If a war with 
England should take place, it seems to me that the first thing 
necessary would be a resolution to abandon the carrying trade, 
because we cannot protect it. Foreign nations must, in that 
case, be invited to bring us what we want, and to take our pro- 
ductions in their own bottoms. This alone could prevent the 
loss of those productions to us, and the acquisition of them to 
our enemy. Our seamen might be employed in depredations on 
their trade. But how dreadfully we shall suffer on our coasts, 
if we have no force on the water, former experience has taught 
us. Indeed, I look forward with horror to the very possible case 
of war with an European power, and think there is no protection 
against them, but from the possession of some force on the sea. 
Our vicinity to their West India possessions, and to the fisheries, 
is a bridle which a small naval force, on our part, would hold in 
the mouths of the most powerful of these countries. I hope 
our land office will rid us of our debts, and that our first atten- 
tion then, will be, to the beginning a naval force of some sort. 
This alone can countenance our people as carriers on the water, 
and I suppose them to be determined to continue such. 

I wrote you two public letters on the 14th instant, since which 
I have received yours of July the 13th. I shall always be 
pleased to receive from you, in a private way, such communica- 
tions as you might not choose to put into a public letter. 

I have the honor to be, with very sincere esteem, dear Sir, 
your most obedient humble servant. 


PARIS August 28, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I wrote you on the 5th of July, by Mr. Franklin, 
and on the 12th of the same month, by Monsieur Houdon. 


Since that date, yours of June the 16th, by Mazzei, has been 
received. Everything looks like peace here. The settlement 
between the Emperor and the Dutch is not yet published, but it 
is believed to be agreed on. Nothing is done, as yet, between 
him and the Porte. He is much wounded by the confederation 
of several of the Germanic body, at the head of which is the 
King of Prussia, and to which the King of England, as Elector 
of Hanover, is believed to accede. The object is to preserve the 
constitution of that empire. It shows that these princes enter- 
tain serious jealousies of the ambition of the Emperor, and this 
will very much endanger the election of his nephew as King of 
the Romans. A late Arret of this court against the admission 
of British manufactures produces a great sensation in England. 
I wish it may produce a disposition there to receive our com- 
merce in all their dominions, on advantageous terms. This is 
the only balm which can heal the wounds that it has received. 
It is but too true, that that country furnished markets for three- 
fourths of the exports of the eight northern-most States. A 
truth not proper to be spoken of, but which should influence our 
proceedings with them. 

The July French packet having arrived without bringing any 
news of Mr. Lambe, if the English one of the same month be 
also arrived, without news of him, I expect Mr. Adams will con- 
cur with me in sending some other person to treat with the Bar- 
bary States. Mr. Barclay is willing to go, and I have proposed 
him to Mr. Adams, but have not yet received his answer. The 
peace expected between Spain and Algiers, will probably not 
take place. It is said, the former was to have given a million 
of dollars. Would it not be prudent to send a minister to Portu- 
gal ? Our commerce with that country is very important ; per- 
haps more so than with any other country in Europe. It is pos- 
sible, too, that they might permit our whaling vessels to refresh 
in Brazil, or give some other indulgences in America. The 
lethargic character of their ambassador here gives a very un- 
hopeful aspect to a treaty on this ground. I lately spoke with 


him on the subject, and he has promised to interest himself in 
obtaining an answer from his court. 

I have waited to see what was the pleasure of Congress, as to 
the secretaryship of my office here ; that is, to see whether they 
proposed to appoint a secretary of legation, or leave me to ap- 
point a private secretary. Colonel Humphreys' occupation in 
the despatches and records of the matters which relate to the 
general commissions, does not afford him leisure to aid me in my 
office, were I entitled to ask that aid. In the meantime, the 
long papcrs,which often accompany the communications between 
the ministers here, and myself, and the other business of the 
office, absolutely require a scribe. I shall, therefore, on Mr. 
Short's return from the Hague, appoint him my private secretary, 
till Congress shall think proper to signify their pleasure. The 
salary allowed Mr. Franklin in the same office, was one thousand 
dollars a year. I shall presume that Mr. Short may draw the 
same allowance from the funds of the United States here. As 
soon as I shall have made this appointment, I shall give official 
notice of it to Mr. Jay, that Congress may, if they disapprove it, 
say so. 

I am much pleased with your land ordinance, and think it im- 
proved from the first, in the most material circumstances. I had 
mistaken the object of the division of the lands among the States. 
I am sanguine in my expectations of lessening our debts by this 
fund, and have expressed my expectations to the minister and 
others here. I see by the public papers, you have adopted the 
dollar as your money unit. In the arrangement of coins I pro- 
posed, I ought to have inserted a gold coin of five dollars, which, 
being within two shillings of the value of a guinea, would be 
very convenient. 

The English papers are so incessantly repeating their lies about 
the tumults, the anarchy, the bankruptcies and distresses of Ame- 
rica, that these ideas prevail very generally in Europe. At a large 
table where I dined the other day, a gentleman from Switzerland 
expressed his apprehensions for the fate of Dr. Franklin, as he 
said he had been informed, that he would be received with stones 


by the people, who were generally dissatisfied with the Revolu- 
tion, and incensed against all those who had assisted in bringing 
it about. I told him his apprehensions were just, and that the 
people of America would probably salute Dr. Franklin with the 
same stones they had thrown at the Marquis Fayette. The re- 
ception of the Doctor is an object of very general attention, and 
will weigh in Europe, as an evidence of the satisfaction or dis- 
satisfaction of America, with their Revolution. As you are to 
be in Williamsburg early in November, this is the last letter I 
shall write you till about that time. 

I am, with very sincere esteem, dear Sir, your friend and 


PARIS, August 30, 1785. 

SIR, I had the honor of writing to you on the 14th instant, 
by a Mr. Cannon of Connecticut, who was to sail in the packet. 
Since that date, yours of July 13th has come to hand. The 
times for the sailing of the packets being somewhat deranged, I 
avail myself of a conveyance for the present, by the Mr. Fitz- 
hughs of Virginia, who expect to land at Philadelphia. 

I enclose you a correspondence which has taken place between 
the Marechal de Castries, minister of the Marine, and myself. It 
is on the subject of the prize money due to the officers and crew 
of the Alliance, for prizes taken in Europe, under the command 
of Captain Jones. That officer has been here, under the direc- 
tion of Congress, near two years, soliciting the liquidation and 
payment of that money. Infinite delays had retarded the liqui- 
dation till the month of June. It was expected, when the liqui- 
dation was announced to be completed, that the money was to be 
received. The M. de Castries doubted the authority of Captain 
Jones to receive it, and wrote to me for information. I wrote 
him the leter dated July the 10th, which seemed to clear away 


that difficulty. Another arose. A Mr. Puchilberg presented 
powers to receive the money. I wrote, then, the letter of August 
the 3d, and received that of the M. de Castries, of August the 
12th, acknowledging he was satisfied as to this difficulty, but an- 
nouncing another ; to wit ? that possibly some French subjects 
might have been on board the Alliance, and, therefore, that Cap- 
tain Jones ought to give security for the repayment of their por- 
tions. Captain Jones had before told me there was not a French- 
man on board that vessel, but the Captain. I inquired of Mr. 
Barclay. He told me he was satisfied there was not one. Here 
then, was a mere possibility, a shadow of a right, opposed to a 
certain, to a substantial one which existed in the mass of the 
crew, and which was likely to be delayed ; for it was not to be 
expected that Captain Jones could, in a strange country, find the 
security required. These difficulties I suppose to have been con- 
jured up, one after another, by Mr. Puchilberg, who wanted to 
get hold of the money. I saw but one way to cut short these 
everlasting delays, which were ruining the officer soliciting the 
payment of the money, and keeping our seamen out of what 
they had hardly fought for, years ago. This was, to undertake 
to ask an order from Congress, for the payment of any French 
claimants by their banker in Paris ; and, in the meantime, to un- 
dertake to order such payment, should any such claimant prove 
his title, before the pleasure of Congress should be made known 
to me. I consulted with Mr. Barclay, who seemed satisfied I 
might venture this undertaking, because no such claim could be 
presented. I therefore wrote the letter of August the 17th, and 
received that of August the 26th, finally closing this tedious 
business. Should what I have done not meet the approbation 
of Congress, I would pray their immediate sense, because it is 
not probable that the whole of this money will be paid so hastily, 
but that their orders may arrive in time, to stop a sufficiency for 
any French claimants who may possibly exist. The following 
paragraph of a letter from Captain Jones, dated L'Orient, August 
the 25th, 1785, further satisfies me that my undertaking amounted 
to nothing in fact. He says, " it is impossible that any legal de- 


mands should be made on you for French subjects, in consequence 
of your engagement to the Marechal. The Alliance was manned 
in America, and I never heard of any persons having served on 
board that frigate, who had been born in France, except the cap- 
tain, who, as I was informed, had, in America, abjured the church 
of Rome, and been naturalized." Should Congress approve 
what I have done, I will then ask their resolution for the pay- 
ment, by their banker here, of any such claims as may be prop- 
erly authenticated, and will moreover pray of you an authentic 
roll of the crew of the Alliance, with the sums to be allowed to 
each person ; on the subject of which roll, Captain Jones, in the 
letter above mentioned, says, " I carried a set of the rolls with 
me to America, and, before I embarked in the French fleet at 
Boston, I put them into the hands of Mr. Secretary Livingston, 
and they were sealed up among the papers of his office when I 
left America." I think it possible that Mr. Puchilberg may excite 
claims. Should any name be offered which shall not be found on 
the roll, it will be a sufficient disproof of the pretension. Should 
it be found on the roll, it will remain to prove the identity of 
person, and to inquire if payment may not have been made in 
America. I conjecture, from the journals of Congress of June 
2d, that Landais, who, I believe, was the captain, may be in 
America. As his portion of the prize may be considerable, I 
hope it will be settled in America, where only it can be known 
whether any advances have been made him. 

The person at the head of the post office here says, he pro- 
posed to Dr. Franklin a convention to facilitate the passage of 
letters through their office and ours, and that he delivered a draught 
of the convention proposed, that it might be sent to Congress. I 
think it possible he may be mistaken in this, as, on my mention- 
ing it to Dr. Franklin, he did not recollect any such draught 
having been put into his hands. An answer, however, is expected 
by them. I mention it, that Congress may decide whether they 
will make any convention on the subject, and on what principle. 
The one proposed here was, that, for letters passing hence into 
America, the French postage should be collected by our post 


officers, and paid every six months, and for letters coming from 
America here, the American postage should be collected by the 
post officers here, and paid to us in like manner. A second plan, 
however, presents itself ; that is, to suppose the sums to be thus 
collected, on each side, will be equal, or so nearly equal, that the 
balance will not pay for the trouble of keeping accounts, and for 
the little bickerings that the settlement of accounts, and demands 
of the balances, may occasion ; and therefore, to make an ex- 
change of postage. This would better secure our harmony ; but 
I do not know that it would be agreed to here. If not, the other 
might then be agreed to. 

I have waited hitherto, supposing that Congress might, possi- 
bly, appoint a secretary to the legation here, or signify their 
pleasure that I should appoint a private secretary, to aid me in 
my office. The communication between the ministers and my- 
self, requiring often that many and long papers should be copied, 
and that, in a shorter time than could be done by myself, were I 
otherwise unoccupied, other correspondences and proceedings, of 
all which copies must be retained, and still more the necessity of 
having some confidential person, who, in case of any accident to 
myself, might be authorized to take possession of the instructions, 
letters, and other papers of the office, have rendered it absolutely 
necessary for me to appoint a private secretary. Colonel Hum- 
phreys finds full occupation, and often more than he can do, in 
writing and recording the despatches and proceedings of the gen- 
eral commissions. I shall, therefore, appoint Mr. Short, on his re- 
turn from the Hague, with an express condition, that the appoint- 
ment shall cease whenever Congress shall think proper to make 
any other arrangement. He will, of course, expect the allow- 
ance heretofore made to the private secretaries of the ministers, 
which, I believe, has been a thousand dollars a year. 

[An improvement is made here in the construction of muskets, 
which it may be interesting to Congress to know, should they at 
any time propose to procure any. It consists in the making every 
part of them so exactly alike, that what belongs to any one, may 
be used for every other musket in the magazine. The govern- 


merit here has examined and approved the method, and is estab- 
lishing a large manufactory for the purpose of putting it into exe- 
cution. As yet, the inventor has only completed the lock of the 
musket, on this plan. He will proceed immediately to have the 
barrel, stock, and other parts, executed in the same way. Sup- 
posing it might be useful in the United States, I went to the 
workman. He presented me the parts of fifty locks taken to 
pieces, and arranged in compartments. I put several together 
myself, taking pieces at hazard as they came to hand, and they 
fitted in the most perfect manner. The advantages of this, when 
arms need repair, are evident. He effects it by tools of his own 
contrivance, which, at the same time, abridge the work, so that he 
thinks he shall be able to furnish the musket two livres cheaper than 
the common price. But it will be two or three years before he will 
be able to furnish any quantity. I mention it now, as it may have 
an influence on the plan for furnishing our magazines with this anrTJ 
Everything in Europe remains as when I wrote you last. The 
peace between Spain and Algiers has the appearance of being 
broken off. The French packet having arrived without Mr. 
Lambe. or any news of him, I await Mr. Adams's acceding to the 
proposition mentioned in my last. I send you the gazettes of 
Leyden and France to this date, and have the honor to be, with 
the highest respect and esteem, Sir, 

Your most obedient humble servant. 


PARIS, September 1, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, My last to you by Monsieur de Doradour was 
dated May the llth. Since that, I have received yours of Janu- 
ary the 22d, with six copies of the revisal, and that of April the 
27th, by Mr. Mazzei. 

All is quiet here. The Emperor and Dutch have certainly 
agreed, though they have not published their agreement. Most 
of his schemes in Germany must be postponed, if they are not 


prevented by the confederacy of many of the Germanic body, 
at the head of which is the King of Prussia, and to which the 
Elector of Hanover is supposed to have acceded. The object 
of the league is to preserve the members of the empire in their 
present state. I doubt whether the jealousy entertained of this 
prince, and which is so fully evidenced by this league, may not 
defeat the election of his nephew to be King of the Romans, 
and thus produce an instance of breaking the lineal succession. 
Nothing is as yet done between him and the Turks. If any- 
thing is produced in that quarter, it will not be for this year. 
The court of Madrid has obtained the delivery of the crew of 
the brig Betsey, taken by the Emperor of Morocco. The Em- 
peror had treated them kindly, new clothed them, and delivered 
them to the Spanish minister, who sent them to Cadiz. This is 
the only American vessel ever taken by the Barbary States. 
The Emperor continues to give proofs of his desire to be in 
friendship with us, or, in other words, of receiving us into the 
number of his tributaries. Nothing further need be feared from 
him. I wish the Algerines may be as easily dealt with. I fancy 
the peace expected between them and Spain is not likely to take 
place. I am well informed that the late proceedings in America, 
have produced a wonderful sensation in England in our favor. 
I mean the disposition which seems to be becoming general, to 
invest Congress with the regulation of our commerce, and, in the 
meantime, the measures taken to defeat the avidity of the British 
government grasping at our carrying business. I can add with 
truth, that it was not till these symptoms appeared in America 
that I have been able to discover the smallest token of respect 
towards the United States in any part of Europe. There was 
an enthusiasm towards us all over Europe at the moment of the 
peace. The torrent of lies published unremittingly in every 
day's London paper first made an impression and produced a 
coolness. The republication of these lies in most of the papers 
of Europe, (done probably by authority of the governments to 
discourage emigrations,) carried them home to the belief of every 
mind. They supposed everything in America was anarchy, tu- 


mult, and civil war. The reception of the Marquis Fayette gave 
a check to these ideas. The late proceedings seem to be pro- 
ducing a decisive vibration in our favor. I think it possible that 
England may ply before them. It is a nation which nothing 
but views of interest can govern. If they produce us good 
there, they will here also. The defeat of the Irish propositions 
is also in our favor. 

I have at length made up the purchase of books for you as far 
as it can be done at present. The objects which I have not yet 
been able to get I shall continue to seek for. Those purchased 
are packed this morning in two trunks, and you have the cata- 
logue and prices herein enclosed. The future charges of trans- 
portation shall be carried into the next bill. The amount of the 
present is 1154 livres 13 sous, which, reckoning the French 
crown of six livres at six shillings and eight pence Virginia 
money, is 64, 3s., which sum you will be so good as to keep in 
your hands, to be used occasionally in the education of my 
nephews when the regular resources disappoint you. To the 
same use I would pray you to apply twenty-rive guineas which 
I have lent the two Mr. Fitzhughs of Marmion, and which I 
have desired them to repay into your hands. You will of course 
deduct the price of the revisals, and of any other articles you 
may have been so kind as to pay for me. Greek and Roman 
authors are dearer here than I believe anywhere in the world. 
Nobody here reads them, wherefore they are not reprinted. Don 
Ulloa, in the original, is not to be found. The collection of 
tracts on the economies of different nations we cannot find, nor 
Amelot's travels into China. I shall send these two trunks of 
books to Havre, there to wait a conveyance to America ; for as 
to the fixing the packets there, it is as uncertain as ever. The 
other articles you mention shall be procured as far as they can 
be. Knowing that some of them would be better got in Lon- 
don, I commissioned Mr. Short, who was going there, to get 
them. He has not yet returned. They will be of such a nature 
as that I can get some gentleman who may be going to America 
to take them in his portmanteau. Le Maire being now able to 


stand on his legs, there will be no necessity for your advanc- 
ing him the money I desired, if it is not already done. I am 
anxious to hear from you on the subject of my Notes on Vir- 
ginia. I have been obliged to give so many of them here that 
I fear their getting published. I have received an application 
from the Directors of the public buildings, to procure them a plan 
for their capitol. I shall send them one taken from the best mor- 
sel of ancient architecture now remaining. It has obtained the 
approbation of fifteen or sixteen centuries, and is therefore pre- 
ferable to any design which might be newly contrived. It will 
give more room, be more convenient, and cost less, than the plan 
they sent me. Pray encourage them to wait for it, and to exe- 
cute it. It will be superior in beauty to anything in America, 
and not inferior to anything in the world. It is very simple. 
Have you a copying press ? If you have not, you should get 
one. Mine (exclusive of paper, which costs a guinea a ream) 
has cost me about fourteen guineas. I would give ten times that 
sum to have had it from the date of the stamp act. I hope you 
will be so good as to continue your communications, both of the 
great and small kind, which are equally useful to me. Be as- 
sured of the sincerity with which I am, dear Sir, 

Your friend and servant. 


PARTS, September 1, 1785. 

GENTLEMEN, I have been duly honored with the receipt of 
your separate letters of August 23d, and should sooner have re- 
turned an answer ; but that as you had written also to Mr. Adams, 
I thought it possible I might receive his sentiments on the subject 
in time for the post. Not thinking it proper to lose the occasion 
of the post, I have concluded to communicate to you my sepa- 
rate sentiments, which you will of course pay attention to only 
so far as they may concur with what you shall receive from Mr. 


On a review of our letters to the Baron de Thulemeyer, I do 
not find that we had proposed that the treaty should be in two 
columns, the one English, and the other what he should think 
proper. We certainly intended to have proposed it. We had 
agreed together that it should be an article of system with us, 
and the omission of it in this instance has been accidental. My 
own opinion, therefore, is, that to avoid the appearance of urging 
new propositions when everything appeared to be arranged, we 
should agree to consider the French column as the original, if 
the Baron de Thulemeyer thinks himself bound to insist on it ; 
but, if the practice of his court will admit of the execution in 
the two languages, each to be considered as equally original, it 
would be very pleasing to me, as it will accommodate it to our 
views, relieve us from the embarrassment of this precedent, 
which may be urged against us on other occasions, and be more 
agreeable to our country, where the French language is spoken 
by very few. This method will also be attended with the ad- 
vantage, that if any expression in any part of the treaty is 
equivocal in the one language, its true sense will be known by 
the corresponding passage in the other. 

The errors of the copyist in the French column you will cor- 
rect of course. 

I have the honor to be, with very high esteem, Gentlemen, 
your most obedient, and most humble servant. 


PARIS, September 4, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, On receipt of your favors of August the 18th and 
23d, I conferred with Mr. Barclay on the measures necessary to 
be taken, to set our treaty with the piratical States into motion, 
through his agency. Supposing that we should begin with the 
Emperor of Morocco, a letter to the Emperor and instructions to 
Mr. Barclay, seemed necessary. I have therefore sketched such 


outlines for these, as appear to me to be proper. You will be so 
good as to detract, add to, or alter them as you please, to return 
such as you approve under your signature, to which I will add 
mine. A person understanding English, French, and Italian, 
and at the same time meriting confidence, was not to be met with 
here. Colonel Franks, understanding the two first languages 
perfectly, and a little Spanish instead of Italian, occurred to Mr. 
Barclay as the fittest person he could employ for a secretary. 
We think his allowance (exclusive of his travelling expenses and 
his board, which will be paid by Mr. Barclay in common with 
his own) should be between one hundred, and one hundred and 
fifty guineas a year. Fix it where you please, between these 
limits. What is said in the instructions to Mr. Barclay as to his 
own allowance, was proposed by himself. My idea as to the 
partition of the whole sum to which we are limited (eighty thou- 
sand dollars), was, that one half of it should be kept in reserve 
for the Algerines. They certainly possess more than half of the 
whole power of the piratical States. I thought then, that Mo- 
rocco might claim the half of the remainder, that is to say, one- 
fourth of the whole. For this reason, in the instructions, I pro- 
pose twenty thousand dollars as the limit of the expenses of the 
Morocco treaty. Be so good as to think of it, and make it what 
you please. I should be more disposed to enlarge than abridge 
it, on account of their neighborhood to our Atlantic trade. I 
did not think that these papers should be trusted through the 
post 'office, and, therefore, as Colonel Franks is engaged in the 
business, he comes with them. Passing by the diligence, the 
whole expense will not exceed twelve or fourteen guineas. I 
suppose we are bound to avail ourselves of the co-operation of 
France. I will join you, therefore, in any letter you think pro- 
per to write to the Count de Vergennes. Would you think it 
expedient to write to Mr. Carmichael, to interest the interposition 
of the Spanish court ? I will join you in anything of this kind 
you will originate. In short, be so good as to supply whatever 
you may think necessary. With respect to the money, Mr. Jay's 
information to you was, that it was to be drawn from Holland. 
VOL. i. 27 


It wi ' rest, therefore, with you, to avail Mr. Barclay of that fund, 
either by your draft, or by a letter of credit to the bankers in 
his favor, to the necessary amount. I imagine the Dutch con- 
sul at Morocco may be rendered an useful character, in the re- 
mittances of money to Mr. Barclay while at Morocco. 

You were apprised, by a letter from Mr. Short, of the delay 
which had arisen in the execution of the treaty with Prussia. I 
wrote a separate letter, of which I enclose you a copy, hoping it 
would meet one from you, and set them again into motion. 

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, dear Sir, your 
most obedient, and most humble servant. 

[The following are the sketches of the letter to the Emperor 
of Morocco, and of the instructions to Mr. Barclay, referred to in 
the preceding letter.] 


That the United States of America, heretofore connected m 
government with Great Britain, had found it necessary for their 
happiness to separate from her, and to assume an independent 

That, consisting of a number of separate States, they had 
confederated together, and placed the sovereignty of the whole, 
in matters relating to foreign nations, in a body consisting of 
delegates from every State, and called the Congress of the 
United States. 

That Great Britain had solemnly confirmed their separation, 
and acknowledged their independence. 

That after the conclusion of the peace, which terminated the 
war in which they had been engaged for the establishment of 
their independence, the first attentions of Congress were neces- 
sarily engrossed by the re-establishment of order and regular gov- 

That they had, as soon as possible, turned their attention to 
foreign nations, and, desirous of entering into amity and com- 


merce with them, had been pleased to appoint us with Dr. Ben- 
jamin Franklin, to execute such treaties for this purpose, as 
should be agreed on by such nations, with us, or any two of us. 

That Dr. Franklin having found it necessary to return to 
America, the execution of these several commissions had de- 
volved on us. 

That being placed as Ministers Plenipotentiary for the United 
States at the courts of England and France ; this circumstance, 
with the commissions with which we are charged for entering 
into treaties with various other nations, puts it out of our power 
to attend at the other courts in person, and obliges us to nego- 
tiate by the intervention of confidential persons. 

That, respecting the friendly dispositions shown by his Ma- 
jesty, the Emperor of Morocco, towards the United States, and 
indulging the desire of forming a connection with a sovereign 
so renowned for his power, his wisdom, and his justice, we had 
embraced the first moment possible, of assuring him of these, the 
sentiments of our country and of ourselves, and of expressing to 
him our wishes to enter into a connection of friendship and 
commerce with him. 

That for this purpose, we had commissioned the bearer hereof, 
Thomas Barclay, a person in the highest confidence of the Con- 
gress of the United States, and as such, having been several 
years, and still being their consul general with our great and 
good friend and ally, the King of France, to arrange with his 
Majesty the Emperor those conditions Which it might be advan- 
tageous for both nations to adopt, for the regulation of their 
commerce, and their mutual conduct towards each other. 

That we deliver to him a copy of the full powers with which 
we are invested, to conclude a treaty with his Majesty, which 
copy he is instructed to present to his Majesty. 

That though by these, we are not authorized to delegate to 
him the power of ultimately signing the treaty, yet such is our 
reliance on his wisdom, his integrity, and his attention to the in- 
structions with which he is charged, that we assure his Majesty, 
the conditions which he shall arrange and send to us, shall be 


returned with our signature, in order to receive that of the per- 
son whom his Majesty shall commission for the same purpose. 


Congress having heen pleased to invest us with full powers 
for entering into a treaty of amity and alliance with the Empe- 
ror of Morocco, and it being impracticable for us to attend his 
court in person, and equally impracticable, on account of our 
separate stations, to receive a minister from him, we have con- 
cluded to effect our object by the intervention of a confidential 
person. We concur in wishing to avail the United States of 
your talents in the execution of this business, and therefore fur- 
nish you with a letter to the Emperor of Morocco, to give due 
credit to your transactions with him. 

We advise you to proceed by the way of Madrid, where you 
will have opportunities of deriving many lights from Mr. Carmi- 
chael, through whom many communications with the court of 
Morocco have already passed. 

From thence, you will proceed, by such route as you shall 
think best, to the court of the Emperor. 

You will present to him our letter, with the copy of our full 
powers, with which you are furnished, at such time or times, and 
in such manner, as you shall find best. 

You will proceed to negotiate, with his minister, the terms of 
a treaty of amity and commerce, as nearly conformed as possible 
to the draught we give you. Where alterations, which, in your 
opinion, shall not be of great importance, shall be urged by the 
other party, you are at liberty to agree to them. Where they 
shall be of great importance, and such as you think should be 
rejected, you will reject them ; but where they are of great im- 
portance, and you think they may be accepted, you will ask 
time to take our advice, and will advise with us accordingly, by 
letter or by courier, as you shall think best. When the articles 
shall all be agreed, you will send them to us by some proper per- 
son, for our signature. 

The whole expense of this treaty, including as well the ex- 


penses of all persons employed about it, as the presents to the 
Emperor and his servants must not exceed twenty thousand dol- 
lars ; and we urge you to use your best endeavors to bring it as 
much below that sum as you possibly can. As custom may have 
rendered some presents necessary in the beginning or progress of 
this business, and before it is concluded, or even in a way to be 
concluded, we authorize you to conform to the custom, confiding 
in your discretion to hazard as little as possible, before a certainty 
of the event. We trust to you also to procure the best informa- 
tion, as to what persons, and in what form, these presents should 
be made, and to make them accordingly. 

The difference between the customs of that and other courts, 
the difficulty of obtaining a knowledge of those customs, but on 
the spot, and our great confidence in your discretion, induce us 
to leave to that all other circumstances relative to the object of 
your mission. It will be necessary for you to take a secretary, 
well skilled in the French language, to aid you in your business, 
and to take charge of your papers in case of any accident to 

yourself. We think you may allow him guineas a year, 

besides his expenses for travelling and subsistence. We engage 
to furnish your own expenses, according to the respectability of 
the character with which you are invested ; but, as to the allow- 
ance for your trouble, we wish to leave it to Congress. We an- 
nex hereto sundry heads of inquiry which we wish you to make, 
and to give us thereon the best information you shall be able to 
obtain. We desire you to correspond with us by every oppor- 
tunity which you think should be trusted, giving us, from time 
to time, an account of your proceedings and prospects. 


1. Commerce. What are the articles of their export and im- 
port ? What duties are levied by them on exports and imports ? 
Do all nations pay the same, or what nations are favored, and 
how far ? Are they their own carriers, or who carries for them ? 
Do they trade themselves to other countries, or are they merely 
passive ? 


2. Ports. What are their principal ports ? What depth of 
water in them ? What works of defence protect these ports ? 

3. Naval force. How many armed vessels have they ? Of 
what kind and force ? What is the constitution of their naval 
force ? What resources for increasing their navy ? What num- 
ber of seamen ? Their cruising grounds, and seasons of cruising ? 

4. Prisoners. What is their condition and treatment ? At what 
price are they ordinarily redeemed, and how ? 

Do they pay respect to the treaties they make ? 

Land forces. Their numbers, constitution and respectability " 

Revenues. Their amount. 

Coins. What coins pass there, and at what rates ? 


PARIS, September 5, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, Your favor of April the 15th. happened to be put 
into my hands at the same time with a large parcel of letters 
from America, which contained a variety of intelligence. It was 
then put where I usually place my unanswered letters ; and I, 
from time to time, put off acknowledging the receipt of it, till I 
should be able to furnish you American intelligence worth com- 
municating. A favorable opportunity, by a courier, of writing to 
you, occurring this morning, what has been my astonishment and 
chagrin, on reading your letter again, to find there was a case in 
it which required an immediate answer, but which, by the variety 
of matters which happened to be presented to my mind, at the 
same time, had utterly escaped my recollection. I pray you to 
be assured, that nothing but this slip of memory would have pre- 
vented my immediate answer, and no other circumstance would 
have prevented its making such an impression on my mind, as 
that it could not have escaped. I hope you will, therefore, oblit- 
erate the imputation of want of respect, which, under actual ap- 
pearances, must have arisen in your mind, but which would refer 
to an untrue cause the occasion of my silence. I am not sum- 


ciently acquainted with the proceedings of the New York As- 
sembly, to say, with certainty, in what predicament the lands of 
Mr. Upton may stand. But on conferring with Colonel Hum- 
phreys, who, being from the neighboring State, was more in the 
way of knowing what passed in New York, he thinks that the 
descriptions in their confiscation laws were such as not to include 
a case of this nature. The first, thing to be done by Mr. Upton, 
is, to state his case to some intelligent lawyer of the country, that 
he may know with certainty whether they be confiscated or not ; 
and if not confiscated, to know what measures are necessary for 
completing and securing his grant. But if confiscated, there is, then, 
no other tribunal of redress but their General Assembly. If he is 
unacquainted there, I would advise him to apply to Colonel Ham- 
ilton (who was aid to General Washington), and is now very 
eminent at the bar, and much to be relied on. Your letter in 
his favor to Mr. Jay will also procure him the benefit of his 

With respect to America, I will rather give you a general view 
of its situation, than merely relate recent events. The impost is 
still unpassed by the two States of New York and Rhode Is- 
land ; for the manner in which the latter has passed it does not 
appear to me to answer the principal object of establishing a 
fund, which, by being subject to Congress alone, may give such 
credit to the certificates of public debt, as will make them nego- 
tiable. This matter, then, is still suspended. 

Congress have lately purchased the Indian right to nearly the 
whols of the land lying in the new State, bounded by lake Erie, 
Pennsylvania, and the Ohio. The northwestern corner alone is 
reserved to the Delawares and Wiandots. I expect a purchase is 
also concluded with other tribes, for a considerable proportion of 
the State next to this, on the north side of the Ohio. They have 
passed an ordinance establishing a land office,, considerably im- 
proved, I think, on the plan of which I had the honor of giving 
you a copy. The lands are to be offered for sale to the highest 
bidder. For this purpose, portions of them are to be proposed in 
each State, that each may have the means of purchase carried 


equally to their doors, and that the purchasers may be a proper 
mixture of the citizens from all the different States. But such 
lots as cannot be sold for a dollar an acre, are not to be parted 
with. They will receive as money the certificates of public 
debt. I flatter myself that this arrangement will very soon ab- 
sorb the whole of these certificates, and thus rid us of our do- 
mestic debt, which is four-fifths of our whole debt. Our foreign 
debt will then be a bagatelle. 

I think it probable that Vermont will be made independent, as 
I am told the State of New York is likely to agree to it. Maine 
will probably, in time, be also permitted to separate from Massa- 
chusetts. As yet, they only begin to think of it. Whenever the 
people of Kentucky shall have agreed among themselves, my 
friends write me word, that Virginia will consent to their separa- 
tion. They will constitute the new State on the south side of 
Ohio, joining Virginia. North Carolina, by an act of their As- 
sembly, ceded to Congress all their lands westward of the Alle- 
ghany. The people inhabiting that territory, thereon declared 
themselves independent, called their State by the name of Franklin, 
and solicited Congress to be received into the Union. But before 
Congress met, North Carolina (for what reasons I could never 
learn) resumed their cession. The people, however, persist ; 
Congress recommended to the State to desist from their opposi- 
tion, and I have no doubt they will do it. It will, therefore, re- 
sult from the act of Congress laying off the western country into 
new States, that these States will come into the Union in the 
manner therein provided, and without any disputes as to their 

I am told that some hostile transaction by our people at the 
Natchez, against the Spaniards, has taken place. If it be fact, 
Congress will certainly not protect them, but leave them to be 
chastised by the Spaniards, saving the right to the territory. A 
Spanish minister being now with Congress, and both parties in- 
terested in keeping the peace, I think, if such an event has hap- 
pened, it will be easily arranged. 

I told you, when here, of the propositions made by Congress to 


the States, to be authorized to make certain regulations in their 
commerce ; and that, from the disposition to strengthen the hands 
of Congress, which was then growing fast, I thought they would 
consent to it. Most of them did so, and I suppose all of them 
would have done it, if they have not actually done it, but that 
events proved a much more extensive power would be requisite. 
Congress have, therefore, desired to be invested with the whole 
regulation of their trade, and forever ; and to prevent all tempta- 
tions to abuse the power, and all fears of it, they propose that 
whatever moneys shall be levied on commerce, either for the pur- 
pose of revenue, or by way of forfeiture^ or penalty, shall go di- 
rectly into the coffers of the State wherein it is levied, without be- 
ing touched by Congress. From the present temper of the States, 
and the conviction which your country has carried home to their 
minds, that there is no other method of defeating the greedy at- 
tempts of other countries to trade with them on equal terms, I 
think they will add an article for this purpose to their Confedera- 
tion. But the present powers of Congress over the commerce 
of the States, under the Confederation, seem not at all understood 
by your ministry. They say that body has no power to enter 
into a treaty of commerce ; why then make one ? This is a mis- 
take. By the sixth article of the Confederation, the States re- 
nounce, individually, all power to make any treaty, of whatever 
nature, with a foreign nation. By the ninth article, they give the 
power of making treaties wholly to Congress, with two reserva- 
tions only. 1. That no treaty of commerce shall be made, which 
shall restrain the legislature from making foreigners pay the same 
imposts with their own people : nor 2d, from prohibiting the ex- 
portation or importation of any species of merchandise, which they 
might think proper. Were any treaty to be made which should 
violate either of these two reservations, it would be so far void. 
In the treaties, therefore, made with France, Holland, &c., this 
has been cautiously avoided. But are these treaties of no advan- 
tage to these nations ? Besides the advantages expressly given by 
them, there results another, of great value. The commerce of 
those nations with the United States, is thereby under the pro- 


tection of Congress, and no particular State, acting by fits and 
starts, can harass the trade of France, Holland, &c., by such meas- 
ures as several of them have practiced against England, by load- 
ing her merchandsie with partial impost, refusing admittance to 
it altogether, excluding her merchants, &c., &c. For you will 
observe, that though by the second reservation before mentioned, 
they can prohibit the importation of any species of merchandise, as 
for instance, though they may prohibit the importation of wines in 
general, yet they cannot prohibit that of French wines in par- 
ticular. Another advantage is, that the nations having treaties 
with Congress, can and do provide in such treaties for the admis- 
sion of their consuls, a kind of officer very necessary for the reg- 
ulation and protection of commerce. You know that a consul 
is the creature of treaty. No nation without an agreement, can 
place an officer in another country, with any powers or jurisdic- 
tion whatever. But as the States have renounced the separate 
power of making treaties with foreign nations, they cannot sep- 
arately receive a consul ; and as Congress have, by the Confeder- 
ation, no immediate jurisdiction over commerce, as they have 
only a power of bringing that jurisdiction into existence by en- 
tering into a treaty, till such treaty be entered into, Congress them- 
selves cannot receive a consul. Till a treaty then, there exists 
no power in any part of our government, federal or particular, to 
admit a consul among us ; and if it be true, as the papers say, 
that you have lately sent one over, he cannot be admitted by any 
power in existence, to an exercise of any function. Nothing 
less than a new article, to be agreed to by all the States, would 
enable Congress, or the particular States, to receive him. You 
must not be surprised then, if he be not received. 

I think I have by this time tired you with American politics, 
and will therefore only add assurances of the sincere regard and 
esteem, with which I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most 
obedient humble servant. 



PARIS, September 6, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, Your letter of March the 28th, which I received 
about a month after its date, gave me a very real pleasure, as it 
assured me of an existence which I valued, and of which I had 
been led to doubt. You are now too distant from America, to be 
much interested in what passes there. From the London gazettes, 
and the papers copying them, you are led to suppose that all there 
is anarchy, discontent and civil war. Nothing, however, is less 
true. There are not, on the face of the earth, more tranquil gov- 
ernments than ours, nor a happier and more contented people. 
Their commerce has not as yet found the channels, which their 
new relations with the world will offer to best advantage, and the 
old ones remain as yet unopened by new conventions. This oc- 
casions a stagnation in the sale of their produce, the only truth 
among all the circumstances published about them. Their hatred 
against Great Britain, having lately received from that nation new 
cause and new aliment, has taken a new spring. Among the in- 
dividuals of your acquaintance, nothing remarkable has happened. 
No revolution in the happiness of any of them has taken place, 
except that of the loss of their only child. to Mr. and Mrs. Walker, 
who, however, left them a grand-child for their solace, and that 
of your humble servant, who remains with no other family than 
two daughters, the elder here (who was of your acquaintance), 
the younger in Virginia, but expected here the next summer. 
The character in which I am here at present, confines me to this 
place, and will confine me as long as I continue in Europe. How 
long this will be, I cannot tell. I am now of an age which does 
not easily accommodate itself to new manners and new modes 
of living ; and I am savage enough to prefer the woods, the 
wilds, and the independence of Monticello, to all the brilliant 
pleasures of this gay Capital. I shall, therefore, rejoin myself to 
my native country, with new attachments, and with exaggerated 
esteem for its advantages ; for though there is less wealth there, 
there is more freedom, more ease, and less misery. I should like 


it better, however, if it could tempt you once more to visit it ; 
but that is not to be expected. Be this as it may, and whether 
fortune means to allow or deny me the pleasure of ever seeing 
you again, be assured that the worth which gave birth to my at- 
tachment, and which still animates it, will continue to keep it 
up while we both live, and that it is with sincerity I subscribe 
myself, dear Sir, your friend and servant. 


PARIS, September 11, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, Your Captain Yeaton being here, furnishes me an 
opportunity of paying the tribute of my congratulations on your 
appointment to the government of your State, which I do sin- 
cerely. He gives me the grateful intelligence of your health, 
and that of Mrs. Langdon. Anxious to promote your service, 
and believing he could do it by getting himself naturalized here, 
and authorized to command your vessel, he came from Havre to 
Paris. But on making the best inquiries I could, it seemed that 
the time requisite to go through with this business, would be 
much more than he could spare. He therefore declined it. I 
wish it were in my power to give you a hope that our commerce, 
either with this country, or its islands, was likely to be put on a 
better footing. But if it be altered at all, it will probably be for 
the worse. The regulations respecting their commerce are by 
no means sufficiently stable to be relied on. 

Europe is in quiet, and likely to remain so. The affairs of 
the Emperor and Dutch are as good as settled, and no other cloud 
portends any immediate storm. You have heard much of Amer- 
ican vessels taken by the Barbary pirates. The Emperor of Mo- 
rocco took one last winter, (the brig Betsey from Philadelphia;) 
he did not however reduce the crew to slavery, nor confiscate the 
vessel or cargo. He has lately delivered up the crew on the so- 
licitation of the Spanish court. No other has ever been taken by 


them. There are, indeed, rumors of one having been lately 
taken by the Algerines. The fact is possible, as there is nothing 
to hinder their taking them, but it is not as yet confirmed. I 
have little doubt, that we shall be able to place our commerce on 
a popular footing with the Barbary States, this summer, and thus 
not only render our navigation to Portugal and Spain safe, but 
open the Mediterranean as formerly. In spite of treaties, Eng- 
land is still our enemy. Her hatred is deep rooted and cordial, 
and nothing is wanting with her but the power, to wipe us and 
the land we live on out of existence. Her interest, however, is 
her ruling passion ; and the late American measures have struck 
at that so vitally, and with an energy, too, of which she had 
thought us quite incapable, that a possibility seems to open of 
forming some arrangement with her. When they shall see de- 
cidedly, that, without it, we shall suppress their commerce with 
us, they will be agitated by their avarice, on the one hand, and 
their hatred and their fear of us, on the other. The result of 
this conflict of dirty passions is yet to be awaited. The body of 
the people of this country love us cordially. But ministers and 
merchants love nobody. The merchants here, are endeavoring 
to exclude us from their islands. The ministers will be governed 
in it by political motives, and will do it, or not do it, as these 
shall appear to dictate, without love or hatred to anybody. It 
were to be wished that they were able to combine better, the 
various circumstances which prove, beyond a doubt, that all the 
advantages of their colonies result, jn the end, to the mother 
country. I pray you to present me in the most friendly terms to 
Mrs. Langdon, and to be assured of the esteem with which I am, 
your Excellency's most obedient, and most humble servant. 


PARIS, Sepfenber 11, 1785. 

SIR, I received duly your favor of August 14th. It is not in 
my power to take on the account of Congress any part of the-. 


expenses of your passage, having received no authority of that 
kind from them ; nor indeed is the encouragement of emigrations 
among the objects with which they are charged. I fear that 
when you get to Portsmouth you will find difficulties in the 
winter season to go by water to any more southern States. Your 
objects being the manufacture of wool and cotton, you will of 
course choose to fix yourself where you can get both or one of 
these articles in plenty. The most and best wool is to be had in 
the middle States ; they begin to make a little cotton in Mary- 
land ; they make a great deal in Virginia, and all the States south 
of that. The price of clean cotton in Virginia is from 21 to 26 
sols, a pound, that is to say, from a fifth to a fourth of a dollar. 
General Washington being at the head of the great works carry- 
ing on towards clearing the Potomac, I have no doubt but that 
work will be completed. It will furnish great opportunities of 
using machines of all kinds ; perhaps you may find employ- 
ment there for your skill in that way. Alexandria on the Poto- 
mac will undoubtedly become a very great place, but Norfolk 
would be the best for cotton manufacture. As you are a stranger, 
I mention such facts as I suppose may be useful to you. I wish 
you success, and am, Sir, your very humble servant. 


PARIS, September 11, 1785. 

SIR, I received three days ago the letter you did me the 
honor to write to me on the 2d of August. Congress have pur- 
chased a very considerable extent of country from the Indians, 
and have passed an ordinance laying down rules for disposing of 
it. These admit only two considerations for granting lands ; 
first, military service rendered during the late war ; and secondly, 
money to be paid at the time of granting, for the purpose of dis- 
charging their national debt. They direct these lands to be sold 
at auction to him who will give most for them, but that, at any 


rate, they shall not be sold for less than a dollar an acre. How- 
ever, as they receive as money the certificates of public debt, 
and these can be bought for the half or fourth of their nominal 
value, the price of the lands is reduced in proportion. As Con- 
gress exercise their government by general rules only, I do not 
believe they will grant lands to any individual for any other con- 
sideration than those mentioned in their ordinance. They have 
ordered the lands to be surveyed, and this work is now actually 
going on under the directions of their own geographer. They do 
not require information of the quality of the soil, because they will 
sell the lands faster than this could be obtained ; and after they 
are sold, it is the interest of the purchaser to examine for what 
the soil is proper. As ours is a country of husbandmen, I make 
no doubt they will receive the book of which you write to me 
with pleasure and advantage. I have stated to you such facts as 
might enable you to decide for yourself how far that country 
presents advantages which might answer your views. It is proper 
for me to add that everything relative to the sale and survey of 
these lands is out of the province of my duty. Supposing you 
might be desirous of receiving again the letters of Dr. Franklin, 
I enclose them, and have the honor to be, with the greatest re- 
spect, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant. 


PARIS, September 20, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, By Mr. Fitzhugh, you will receive my letter of 
the first instant. He is still here, and gives me an opportunity 
of again addressing you much sooner than I should have done, 
but for the discovery of a great piece of inattention. In that 
letter I send you a detail of the cost of your books, and desire 
you to keep the amount in your hands, as if I had forgot that a 
part of it was in fact your own, as being a balance of what I 
had remained in your debt. I really did not attend to it in the 


moment of writing, and when it occurred to me, I revised my 
memorandum book from the time of our being in Philadelphia 
together, and stated our account from the beginning, lest I should 
forget or mistake any part of it. I enclose you this statement. 
You will always be so good as to let me know, from time to 
time, your advances for me. Correct with freedom all my pro- 
ceedings for you, as. in what I do, I have no other desire than 
that of doing exactly what will be most pleasing to you. 

I received this summer a letter from Messrs. Buchanan and 
Hay, as Directors of the public buildings, desiring I would have 
drawn for them, plans of sundry buildings, and, in the first place, 
of a capitol. They fixed, for their receiving this plan, a day 
which was within about six weeks of that on which their letter 
came to my hand. I engaged an architect of capital abilities in 
this business. Much time was requisite, after the external form 
was agreed on, to make the internal distribution convenient for 
the three branches of government. This time was much length- 
ened by my avocations to other objects, which I had no right to 
neglect. The plan, however, was settled. The gentlemen had 
sent me one which they had thought of. The one agreed on 
here, is more convenient, more beautiful, gives more room, and 
will not cost more than two-thirds of what that would. We 
took for our model what is called the Maison quanxe of Nismes, 
one of the most beautiful, if riot the most beautiful and precious 
morsel of architecture left us by antiquity. It was built by Cains 
and Lucius Caesar, and repaired by Louis XIV., and has the suf- 
frage of all the judges of architecture who have seen it, as 
yielding to no one of the beautiful monuments of Greece, Rome. 
Palmyra, and Balbec, which late travellers have communicated 
to us. It is very simple, but it is noble beyond expression, and 
would have done honor to our country, as presenting to travel- 
lers a specimen of taste in our infancy, promising much for 
our maturer age. I have been much mortified with information, 
which I received two days ago from Virginia, that the first brick 
of the capitol would be laid within a few days. But surely, the 
delay of this piece of a summer would have been repaired by 


the savings in the plan preparing here, were we to value its other 
superiorities as nothing. But how is a taste in this beautiful art 
to be formed in our countrymen unless we avail ourselves of 
every occasion when public buildings are to be erected, of pre- 
senting to them models for their study and imitation ? Pray try 
if you can effect the stopping of this work. I have written also 
to E. R. on the subject. The loss will be only of the laying 
the bricks already laid, or a part of them. The bricks them- 
selves will do again for the interior walls, and one side wall and 
one end wall may remain, as they will answer equally well for 
our plan. This loss is not to be weighed against the saving of 
money which will arise, against the comfort of laying out the 
public money for something honorable, the satisfaction of seeing 
an object and proof of national good taste, and the regret and 
mortification of erecting a monument of our barbarism, which 
will be loaded with execrations as long as it shall endure. The 
plans are in good forwardness, and I hope will be ready within 
three or four weeks. They could not be stopped now, but on 
paying their whole price, which will be considerable. If the 
undertakers are afraid to undo what they have done, encourage 
them to it by a recommendation from the Assembly. You see I 
am an enthusiast on the subject of the arts. But it is an enthu- 
siasm of which I am not ashamed, as its object is to improve the 
taste of my countrymen, to increase their reputation, to reconcile 
to them the respect of the world, and procure them its praise. 

I shall send off your books, in two trunks, to Havre, within 
two or three days, to the care of Mr. Limozin, American agent 
there. I will advise you, as soon as I know by what vessel he 
forwards them. Adieu. Yours affectionately. 


PARIS, September 20. 1785, 

DEAR SIR, Being in your debt for ten volumes of Buffon, 
I have endeavored to find something that would be agreeable to 
VOL. i. 28 


you to receive, in return. I therefore send you, by way of 
Havre, a dictinoary of law, natural and municipal, in thirteen 
volumes 4to, called le Code de 1'humanite. It is published by 
Felice, but written by him and several other authors of estab- 
lished reputation. Is is an excellent work. I do not mean to 
say, that it answers fully to its title. That would have required 
fifty times the volume. It wants many articles which the title 
would induce us to seek in it. But the articles which it con- 
tains are well written. It is better than the voluminous Dic- 
tionnaire diplomatique, and better, also, than the same branch of 
the Encyclopedic methodique. There has been nothing pub- 
lished here, since I came, of extraordinary merit. The Ency- 
clopedic methodique, which is coming out, from time to time, 
must be excepted from this. It is to be had at two guineas less 
than the subscription price. I shall be happy to send you any- 
thing in this way which you may desire. French books are to 
be bought here, for two-thirds of what they can in England. 
English and Greek and Latin authors, cost from twenty-five to 
fifty per cent, more here than in England. 

I received, some time ago, a letter from Messrs. Hay and Bu- 
chanan, as Directors of the public buildings, desiring I would 
have plans drawn for our public buildings, and in the first place, 
for the capitol. I did not receive their letter until within six 
weeks of the time they had fixed on, for receiving the drawings. 
Nevertheless, I engaged an excellent architect to comply with 
their desire. It has taken much time to accommodate the exter- 
nal adopted, to the internal arrangement necessary for the three 
branches of government. However, it is effected on a plan, 
which, with a great deal of beauty and convenience within, 
unites an external form on the most perfect model of antiquity 
now existing. This is the Maison quarixe of Nismes, built by 
Caius and Lucius Caesar, and repaired by Louis XIV., which, in 
the opinion of all who have seen it, yields in beauty to no 
piece of architecture on earth. The gentlemen enclosed me a 
plan of which they had thought. The one preparing here, will 
be more convenient, give more room, and cost but two-thirds of 


that ; and as a piece of architecture, doing honor to our country, 
will leave nothing to be desired. The plans will be ready soon. 
But, two days ago, I received a letter from Virginia, informing 
me the first brick of the capitol would be laid in a few days. 
This mortifies me extremely. The delay of this summer, would 
have been amply repaid by the superiority and economy of the 
plan preparing here. Is it impossible to stop the work where it 
is ? You will gain money by losing what is done, and general 
approbation, instead of occasioning a regret, which will endure 
as long as your building does. How is a taste for a chaste and 
good style of building to be formed in our countrymen, unless 
we seize all occasions which the erection of public buildings 
offers, of presenting to them models for their imitation ? Do, my 
dear Sir, exert your influence to stay the further progress of the 
work, till you can receive these plans. You will only lose the 
price of laying what bricks are already laid, and of taking part 
of them asunder. They will do again for the inner walls. A 
plan for a prison will be sent at the same time. 

Mazzei is here, and in pressing distress for money. I have 
helped him as far as I have been able, but particular circumstances 
put it out of my power to do more. He is looking with anxiety 
to the arrival of every vessel, in hopes of relief through your means. 
If he does not receive it soon, it is difficult to foresee his fate. 

The quiet which Europe enjoys at present leaves nothing to 
communicate to you in the political way. The Emperor and 
Dutch still differ about the quantum of money to be paid by the 
latter ; they know not what. Perhaps their internal convulsions 
will hasten them to a decision. France is improving her navy, 
as if she were already in a naval war, yet I see no immediate 
prospect of her having occasion for it. England is not likely to 
offer war to any nation, unless perhaps to ours. This would 
cost us our whole shipping, but in every other respect we might 
flatter ourselves with success. But the most successful war sel- 
dom pays for its losses. I shall be glad to hear from you when 
convenient, and am, with much esteem, dear Sir, your friend and 



PARIS, September 24, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I have received your favor of the 18th, enclosing 
your compliments on your presentation. The sentiments you 
therein expressed were such as were entertained in America till 
the commercial proclamation, and such as would again return 
were a rational conduct to be adopted by Great Britain. I think, 
therefore, you by no means compromised yourself or our coun- 
try, nor expressed more than it would be our interest to encour- 
age, if they were disposed to meet us. I am pleased, however, 
to see the answer of the King. It bears the marks of sudden- 
ness and surprise, and as he seems not to have had time for re- 
flection, we may suppose he was obliged to find his answer in 
the real sentiments of his heart, if that heart has any sentiment. 
I have no doubt, however, that it contains the real creed of an 
Englishman, and that the word which he has let escape, is the true 
word of the enigma. " The moment I see such sentiments as 
yours prevail, and a disposition to give this country the prefer- 
ence^ I will, &c." All this I steadily believe. But the condition 
is impossible. Our interest calls for a perfect equality in our 
conduct towards these two nations ; but no preference anywhere. 
If, however, circumstances should ever oblige us to show a prefer- 
ence, a respect for our character, if we had no better motive, 
would decide to which it should be given. 

My letters from members of Congress render it doubtful 
whether they would not rather that full time should be given for 
the present disposition of America to mature itself, and to produce 
a permanent improvement in the federal constitution, rather than 
by removing the incentive to prevent the improvement. It is 
certain that our commerce is in agonies at present, and that these 
would be relieved by opening the British ports in the West In- 
dies. It remains to consider whether a temporary continuance 
under these sufferings would be paid for by the amendment it is 
likely to produce. However, I believe there is no fear that Great 


Britain will puzzle us by leaving it in our choice to hasten or 
delay a treaty. 

Is insurance made on Houdon's life ? I am uneasy about it, 
lest we should hear of any accident. As yet there is no reason 
to doubt their safe passage. If the insurance is not made, I will 
pray you to have it done immediately. 

As I have not received any London newspapers as yet, I am 
obliged to ask you what is done as to them, lest the delay should 
proceed from some obstacle to be removed. 

There is a Mr. Thompson at Dover, who has proposed to 
me a method of getting them post free, but I have declined re- 
sorting to it till I should know in what train the matter is at 

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem, dear 
Sir, your friend and servant. 


PARIS, September 24, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, My letter of September the 19th, written the 
morning after Mr. Lambe's arrival here, will inform you of that 
circumstance. I transmit you herewith copies of the papers he 
brought to us on the subject of the Barbary treaties. You will 
see by them that Congress have adopted the very plan which we 
were proposing to pursue. It will now go on with less danger 
of objection from the other parties. The receipt of these new 
papers, therefore, has rendered necessary no change, in matter of 
substance, in the despatches we had prepared. But they render 
some formal changes necessary. For instance, in our letter of 
credence for Mr. Barclay to the Emperor of Morocco, it becomes 
improper to enter into those* explanations which seemed proper 
when that letter was drawn, because Congress, in their letter, 
enter into those explanations. In the letter to the Count de 
Vergennes, it became proper to mention the new full powers re- 


ceived from Congress, and which, in some measure, accord with 
the idea communicated by him to us from the Marechal de Cas- 
tries. These and other formal alterations, which appeared neces- 
sary to me, I have made, leaving so much of the original draughts, 
approved and amended by you, as were not inconsistent with 
these alterations. I have, therefore, had these prepared fair, to 
save you the trouble of copying ; yet, wherever you choose to 
make alterations, you will be so good as to make them, taking, 
in that case, the trouble of having new fair copies made out. 

You will perceive by Mr. Jay's letter that Congress had not 
thought proper to give Mr. Lambe any appointment. I imagine 
they apprehend it might interfere with measures actually taken 
by us. Notwithstanding the perfect freedom which they are 
pleased to leave to us on this subject, I cannot feel myself clear 
of that bias which a presumption of their pleasure gives, and 
ought to give. I presume that Mr. Lambe met their approba- 
tion, because of the recommendations he carried from the Gov- 
ernor and State of Connecticut, because of his actual knowledge 
of the country and people of the States of Barbary, because of 
the detention of these letters from March to July, which, consid- 
ering their pressing nature, would otherwise have been sent by 
other Americans, who, in the meantime, have come from New 
York to Paris, and because, too, of the information we received 
by Mr. Jarvis. These reasons are not strong enough to set aside 
our appointment of Mr. Barclay to Morocco ; that I think should 
go on, as no man could be sent who would enjoy more the con- 
fidence of Congress. But they are strong enough to induce me 
to propose to you the appointment of Lambe to Algiers. He 
has followed for many years the Barbary trade, and seems inti- 
mately acquainted with those States. I have not seen enough 
of him to judge of his abilities. He seems not deficient, as far 
as I can see, and the footing on which he comes, must furnish a 
presumption for what we do not see. We must say the same as 
to his integrity ; we must rely for this on the recommendations 
he brings, as it is impossible for us to judge of this for ourselves. 
Yet it will be our duty to use such reasonable cautions as are in 


our power. Two occur to me. 1. To give him a clerk capable 
of assisting and attending to his proceedings, and who, in case 
he thought anything was going amiss, might give us informa- 
tion. 2. Not to give him a credit on Yan Staphorst and Willinck, 
but let his drafts be made on yourself, which, with the knowl- 
edge you will have of his proceedings, will enable you to check 
them, if you are sensible of any abuse intended. This will give 
you trouble ; but as I have never found you declining trouble 
when it is necessary, I venture to propose it. I hope it will not 
expose you to inconvenience, as by instructing Lambe to insert 
in his drafts a proper usance, you can, in the meantime, raise the 
money for them by drawing on Holland. I must inform you 
that Mr. Barclay wishes to be put on the same footing with Mr. 
Lambe, as to this article, and therefore I return you your letter 
of credit on Van Staphorst & Co. As to the first article, there 
is great difficulty. There is nobody at Paris fit for the under- 
taking who would be likely to accept it. I mean there is no 
American, for I should be anxious to place a native in the trust. 
Perhaps you can send us one from London. There is a Mr. 
Randall there from New York, whom Mr. Barclay thinks might 
be relied on very firmly for integrity and capacity. He is there 
for his health ; perhaps you can persuade him to go to Algiers in 
pursuit of it. If you cannot, I really know not what will be 
done. It is impossible to propose to Bancroft to go in a secon- 
dary capacity. Mr. Barclay and myself have thought of Cairnes, 
at L'Orient, as a dernier resort. But it is uncertain, or rather 
improbable, that he will undertake it. You will be pleased, in 
the first place, to consider of my proposition to send Lambe to 
Algiers ; and in the next, all the circumstaces before detailed, as 
consequences of that. 

The enclosed letter from Richard O'Bryan furnishes powerful 
motives for commencing, by some means or other, the treaty 
with Algiers, more immediately than would be done if left on 
Mr. Barclay. You will perceive by that, that two of our ves- 
sels, with their crews and cargoes, have been carried captive into 
that port. What is to be done as to those poor people ? I am 


for hazarding the supplementary instruction to Lambe which ac- 
companies these papers. Alter it. or reject it, as you please. 
You ask what I think of claiming the Dutch interposition. I 
doubt the fidelity of any interposition too much to desire it sin- 
cerely. Our letters to this court heretofore seemed to oblige us 
to communicate with them on the subject. If you think the 
Dutch would take amiss our not applying to them, I will join 
you in the application. Otherwise, the fewer who are apprised 
of our proceedings, the better. To communicate them to the 
States of Holland, is to communicate them to the whole world. 

Mr. Short returned last night, and brought the Prussian treaty, 
duly executed in English and French. We may send it to Con- 
gress by the Mr. Fitzhughs, going from hence. Will you draw 
and sign a short letter for that purpose ? I send you a copy of 
a letter received from the Marquis Fayette. In the present un- 
settled state of American commerce, I had as leave avoid all fur- 
ther treaties, except with American powers. If Count Merci, 
therefore, does not propose the subject to me, I shall not to him, 
nor do more than decency requires, if he does propose it. 

I am, with great esteem, dear Sir, your most obedient humble 


PARIS, September 25, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, My last to you was of the 6th of July. Since 
that, I have received yours of July the 23d. I do not altogether 
despair of making something of your method of quilling, though, 
as yet, the prospect is not favorable. I applaud much your perse- 
verance in improving this instrument, and benefiting mankind 
almost in spite of their teeth. I mentioned to Piccini the im- 
provement with which I am entrusted. He plays on the piano- 
forte, and therefore did not feel himself personally interested. I 
hope some better opportunity will yet fall in my way of doing 
it justice. I had almost decided, on his advice, to get a piano- 


forte for my daughter ; but your last letter may pause me, till I 
see its effect. 

Arts and arms are alike asleep for the moment. Ballooning 
indeed goes on. There are two artists in the neighborhood of 
Paris, who seem to be advancing towards the desideratum in 
this business. They are able to rise and fall at will, without ex- 
pending their gas, and to deflect forty-five degrees from the 
course of the wind. 

I desired you, in my last, to send the newspapers, notwith- 
standing the expense. I had then no idea of it. Some late in- 
stances have made me perfectly acquainted with it. I have 
therefore been obliged to adopt the following plan. To have 
my newspapers, from the different States, enclosed to the office 
for Foreign Affairs, and to desire Mr. Jay to pack the whole in 
a box, and send it by the packet as merchandise, directed to the 
American consul at L'Orient, who will forward it to me by the 
periodical wagons. In this way, they will only cost me livres 
where they now cost me guineas. I must pray you, just before 
the departure of every French packet, to send my papers on 
hand, to Mr. Jay, in this way. I do not know whether I am 
subject to American postage or not, in general; but I think 
newspapers never are. I have sometimes thought of sending a 
copy of my Notes to the Philosophical Society, as a tribute 
due to them ; but this would seem as if I considered them as 
worth something, which I am conscious they are not. I will 
not ask you for your advice on this occasion, because it is one 
of those on which no man is authorized to ask a sincere opinion. 
I shall therefore refer it to further thoughts. 

I am, with very sincere esteem, dear Sir, your friend and servant. 


PARIS, September 26, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I received, a few days ago, your favor of the 10th 
of June, and am to thank you for the trouble you have given 


yourself, to procure me information on the subject of the com- 
merce of your State. I pray you also, to take the trouble of 
expressing my acknowledgments to the Governor and Chamber 
of Commerce, as well as to Mr. Hall, for the very precise details 
on this subject, with which they have been pleased to honor me. 
Fo\ir letter of last January, of which you make mention, never 
came to my hands. Of course, the papers now received are the 
first and only ones which have come safe. The infidelities of 
the post offices, both of England and France, are not unknown 
to you. The former are the most rascally, because they retain 
one's letters, not choosing to take the trouble of copying them. 
The latter, when they have taken copies, are so civil as to send 
the originals, resealed clumsily with a composition, on which 
they have previously taken the impression of the seal. England 
shows no dispositions to enter into friendly connections with 
us. On the contrary, her detention of our posts, seems to be 
the speck which is to produce a storm. I judge that a war with 
America would be a popular war in England. Perhaps the 
situation of Ireland may deter the ministry from hastening it on. 
Peace is at length made between the Emperor and Dutch. The 
terms are not published, but it is said, he gets ten millions of 
florins, the navigation of the Scheldt not quite to Antwerp, and 
two forts. However, this is not to be absolutely relied on. 
The league formed by the King of Prussia against the Emperor, 
is a most formidable obstacle to his ambitious designs. It cer- 
tainly has defeated his views on Bavaria, and will render doubt- 
ful the election of his nephew to be King of the Romans. Mat- 
ters are not yet settled between him and the Turk. In truth, 
he undertakes too much. At home he has made some good 

Your present pursuit being (the wisest of all) agriculture, I 
am not in a situation to be useful to it. You know that France 
is not the country most celebrated for this art. I went the other 
day to see a plough which was to be worked by a windlass, 
without horses or oxen. It was a poor aflair. With a very 
troublesome apparatus, applicable only to a dead level, four men 


could do the work of two horses. There seems a possibility 
that the great desideratum in the use of the halloon may be ob- 
tained. There are two persons at Javel (opposite to Auteuil) 
who are pushing this matter. They are able to rise and fall at 
will, without expending their gas, and they can deflect forty-five 
degrees from the course of the wind. 

I took the liberty of asking you to order me a Charleston 
newspaper. The expense of French postage is so enormous, 
that I have been obliged to desire that my newspapers, from the 
different States, may be sent to the office for Foreign Affairs at 
New York ; and I have requested of Mr. Jay to have them al- 
ways packed in a box, and sent by the French packets as mer- 
chandise, to the care of the American consul at L'Orient, who 
will send them on by the periodical wagons. Will you permit 
me to add this to the trouble I have before given you, of order- 
ing the printer to send them, under cover to Mr. Jay, by such 
opportunities by water, as occur from time to time. This re- 
quest must go to the acts of your Assembly also. I shall be on 
the watch to send you anything that may appear here on the 
subjects of agriculture or the arts, which may be worth your 
perusal. I sincerely congratulate Mrs. Izard and yourself, on the 
double accession to your family by marriage and a new birth. 
My daughter values much your remembrance of her, and prays 
to have her respects presented to the ladies and yourself. In 
this I join her, and shall embrace with pleasure every opportu- 
nity of assuring you of the sincere esteem, with which I have 
the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient and most humble 


PARIS, September 30, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, Your estimable favor, covering a letter to Mr. 
Mazzei, came to hand on the 26th instant. The letter to Mr. 


Mazzei was put into his hands in the same moment, as he hap- 
pened to be present. I leave to him to convey to you all his 
complaints, as it will be more agreeable to me to express to you 
the satisfaction I received, on being informed of your perfect 
health. Though I could not receive the same pleasing news 
of Mrs. Bellini, yet the philosophy with which I am told she 
bears the loss of health, is a testimony the more how much she 
deserved the esteem I bear her. Behold me at length on the 
vaunted scene of Europe ! . It is not necessary for your informa- 
tion, that I should enter into details concerning it. But you are, 
perhaps, curious to know how this new scene has struck a sav- 
age of the mountains of America. Not advantageously, I assure 
you. I find the general fate of humanity here most deplorable. 
The truth of Voltaire's observation, offers itself perpetually, that 
every man here must be either the hammer or the anvil. It is a 
true picture of that country to which they say we shall pass 
hereafter, and where we are to see God and his angels in splen- 
dor, and crowds of the damned trampled under their feet. 
While the great mass of the people are thus suffering under phy- 
sical and moral oppression, I have endeavored to examine more 
nearly the condition of the great, to appreciate the true value of 
the circumstances in their situation, which dazzle the bulk of 
spectators, and, especially, to compare it with that degree of 
happiness which is enjoyed in America, by every class of peo- 
ple. Intrigues of love occupy the younger, and those of am- 
bition, the elder part of the great. Conjugal love having no ex- 
istence among them, domestic happiness, of which that is the 
basis, is utterly unknown. In lieu of this, are substituted pur- 
suits which nourish and invigorate all our bad passions, and 
which offer only moments of ecstacy, amidst days and months 
of restlessness and torment. Much, very much inferior, this, to 
the tranquil, permanent felicity with which domestic society in 
America blesses most of its inhabitants ; leaving them to follow 
steadily those pursuits which health and reason approve, and 
rendering truly delicious the intervals of those pursuits. 

In science, the mass of the people are two centuries behind 


ours ; their literati, half a dozen years before us. Books, really 
good, acquire just reputation in that time, and so become known 
to us, and communicate to us all their advances in knowledge. 
Is not this delay compensated, by our being placed out of the 
reach of that swarm of nonsensical publications which issues 
daily from a thousand presses, and perishes almost in issuing ? 
With respect to what are termed polite manners, without sacri- 
ficing too much the sincerity of language, I would wish my coun- 
trymen to adopt just so much of European politeness, as to be 
ready to make all those little sacrifices of self, which really ren- 
der European manners amiable, and relieve society from the dis- 
agreeable scenes to which rudeness often subjects it. Here, it 
seems that a man might pass a life without encountering a single 
rudeness. In the pleasures of the table, they are far before us, 
because, with good taste they unite temperance. They do not 
terminate the most sociable meals" by transforming themselves 
into brutes. I have never yet seen a man drunk in France, even 
among the lowest of the people. Were I to proceed to tell you 
how much I enjoy their architecture, sculpture, painting, music 
I should want words. It is in these arts they shine. The last 
of them, particularly, is an enjoyment, the deprivation of which 
with us, cannot be calculated. I am almost ready to say, it is 
the only thing which from my heart I envy them, and which, in 
spite of all the authority of the Decalogue, I do covet. But I 
am running on in an estimate of things infinitely better known 
to you than to me, and which will only serve to convince you, 
that I have brought with me all the prejudices of country, habit, 
and age. But whatever I may allow to be charged to me as pre- 
judice, in every other instance, I have one sentiment at least, 
founded on reality : it is that of the perfect esteem which your 
merit and that of Mrs. Bellini have produced, and which will 
forever enable me to assure you of the sincere regard with which 
I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant. 



PARIS, October 2, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, I have duly received your favor of April the 10th, 
oy Mr. Mazzei. You therein speak of a new method of raising 
water by steam, which you suppose will come into general use. 
I know of no new method of that kind, and suppose (as you say 
the account you have received of it is very imperfect) that some 
person has represented to you, as new, a fire engine erected at 
Paris, and which supplies the greater part of the town with water. 
But this is nothing more than the fire engine you have seen de- 
scribed in the books of hydraulics, and particularly in the Dic- 
tionary of Arts and Sciences, published in 8vo, by Owen, the 
idea of which was first taken from Papin's Digester. It would 
have been better called the steam engine. The force of the 
steam of water, you know, is immense. In this engine, it is 
made to exert itself towards the working of pumps. That of 
Paris is, I believe, the largest known, raising four hundred 
thousand cubic feet (French) of water, in twenty-four hours; or 
rather, I should have said, those of Paris, for there are two under 
one roof, each raising that quantity. 

The Abbu Rochon not living at Paris, I have not had an op- 
portunity of seeing him, and of asking him the questions you 
desire, relative to the crystal of which I wrote you. I shall 
avail myself of the earliest opportunity I can, of doing it. I 
shall cheerfully execute your commands as to the Encyclopedic, 
when I receive them. The price will be only thirty guineas. 
About half the work is out. The volumes of your Button which 
are spoiled, can be replaced here. 

I expect that this letter will be carried by the Mr. Fitzhughs, 
in a ship from Havre to Portsmouth. I have therefore sent to 
Havre some books which I expected would be acceptable to you. 
These are the Bibliothcque Physico-ojconomique, which will 
give you most of the late improvements in the Arts ; the Con- 
noissance des Tems for 1786 and 1787, which is as late as they 
are published ; and some pieces on air and fire, wherein you will 


find all the discoveries hitherto made on these subjects. These 
books are made into a packet, with your address on them, and 
are put into a trunk, wherein is a small packet for Mr. Wythe, 
another for Mr. Page, and a parcel of books, without direction, 
for Peter Carr. I have taken the liberty of directing the trunk 
to you, as the surest means of its getting safe. I pay the freight 
of it here, so that there will be no new demands, but for the 
transportation from the ship's side to Williamsburg, which I will 
pray you to pay ; and as much the greatest part is for my nephew, 
I will take care to repay it to you. 

In the last volume of the Connoissance des Terns, you will 
find the tables for the planet Herschel. It is a curious circum- 
stance, that this planet was seen thirty years ago by Mayer, and 
supposed by him to be a fixed star. He accordingly determined 
a place for it, in his catalogue of the zodiacal stars, making 
it the 964th of that catalogue. Bode, of Berlin, observed in 
1781 that this star was missing. Subsequent calculations of 
the motion of the planet Herschel, show that it must have been, 
at the time of Mayer's observation, where he had placed his 
964th star. 

Herschel has pushed his discoveries of double stars, now, to 
upwards of nine hundred, being twice the number of those com- 
municated in the Philosophical Transactions. You have proba- 
bly seen, that a Mr. Pigott had discovered periodical variations 
of light in the star Algol. He has observed the same in the ? of 
Antinous, and makes the period of variation seven days, four 
hours, and thirty minutes, the duration of the increase sixty-three 
hours, and of the decrease thirty-six hours. What are we to 
conclude from this ? That there are suns which have their or- 
bits of revolution too ? But this would suppose a wonderful 
harmony in their planets, and present a new scene, where the 
attracting powers should be without, and not within the orbit. 
The motion of our sun would be a miniature of this. But this 
must be left to you astronomers. 

I went some time ago to see a machine which offers something 
new. A man had applied to a light boat a very large screw, the 


thread of which was a thin plate, two feet broad, applied by its 
edge spirally around a small axis. It somewhat resembled a 
bottle brush, if you will suppose the hairs of the bottle brush 
joining together, and forming a spiral plane. This, turned on 
its axis in the air, carried the vessel across the Seine. It is, in 
fact, a screw which takes hold of the air and draws itself along 
by it ; losing, indeed, much of its effort by the yielding nature 
of the body it lays hold of to pull itself on by. I think it may 
be applied in the water with much greater effect, and to very 
useful purposes. Perhaps it may be used also for the balloon. 

It is impossible but you must have heard long ago of the ma- 
chine for copying letters at a single stroke, as we had received it 
in America before I left there. I have written a long letter to 
my nephew, in whose education I feel myself extremely inter- 
ested. I shall rely much on your friendship for conducting him 
in the plan I mark out for him, and for guarding him against 
those shoals on which youth sometimes shipwreck. I trouble 
you to present to Mr. Wythe my affectionate remembrance of 
him, and am, with very great esteem, dear Sir, your friend and 


TARTS, October 5. 1785. 

DEAR SIR, A vessel sailing from Havre to Philadelphia, fur- 
nishes the Messrs. Fitzhughs with a passage to that place. To 
them, therefore, I confide a number of letters and packets which 
I have " received for you from sundry quarters, and which, I 
doubt not, they will deliver safe. Among these, is one from 
M. Du Plessis. On receipt of your letter, in answer to the one 
I had written you, on the subject of his memorial, I sent to M. 
La Motte , M. Chaumont, and wherever else I thought there was 
a probability of finding out Du Plessis' address. But all in vain 
I meant to examine his memoir, as you desired, and to have it 
copied. Lately, he came and brought it with him, copied by 


himself. He desired me to read it, and enclose it to you, which 
I have done. 

We have no public news worth communicating to you, but the 
signing of preliminaries between the Emperor and Dutch. The 
question is, then, with whom the Emperor will pick the next 
quarrel. Oar treaty with Prussia goes by this conveyance. But 
it is not to be spoken of, till a convenient time is allowed for ex- 
changing ratifications. 

Science offers nothing new since your departure, nor any new 
publication wortli your notice. All your friends here are well. 
Those in England, have carried you captive to Algiers. They 
have published a letter, as if written by Truxen, the 20th of 
August, from Algiers, stating the circumstances of the capture, 
and that you bore your slavery to admiration. I happened to re- 
ceive a letter from Algiers, dated August the 24th, informing me 
that two vessels were then there, taken from us, and naming the 
vessels and captains. This was a satisfactory proof to us, that 
you were not there. The fact being so, we would have gladly 
dispensed with the proof, as the situation of our countrymen 
there, was described as very distressing. 

Were I to mention all those who make inquiries after you, 
there would be no end to my letter. I cannot, however, pass 
over those of the good old Countess d'Hoditot, with whom I 
dined on Saturday, at Sanois. They were very affectionate. I 
hope you have had a good passage. Your essay in crossing the 
channel, gave us great hopes you would experience little incon- 
venience on the rest of the voyage. My wishes place you in 
the bosom of your friends, in good health, and with a well- 
grounded prospect of preserving it long, for your' own sake, for 
theirs, and that of the world. 

I am, with the sincerest attachment and respect, dear Sir, your 
most obedient, and most humble servant. 

VOL. i. 29 



PARIS, October 5, 1785. 

DEAR SIR, It was with very sincere pleasure, I heard of your 
appointment to the hoard of treasury, as well from the hope tt at 
it might not be disagreeable to yourself, as from the confidence 
that your administration would be wise. I heartily wish the 
States may, by their contributions, enable you to re-establish a 
credit, which cannot be lower than at present, to exist at all. 
This is partly owing to their real deficiencies, and partly to the 
lies propagated by the London papers, which are probably paid 
for by the minister, to reconcile the people to the loss of us. 
Unluckily, it indisposes them, at the same time, to form rational 
connections with us. Should this produce the amendment of 
our federal constitution, of which your papers give us hopes, we 
shall receive a permanent indemnification for a temporary loss. 

All things here, promise an arrangement between the Emperor 
and Dutch. Their ministers have signed preliminary articles, 
some of which, however, leave room for further cavil. The 
Dutch pay ten millions of florins, yield some forts and territory, 
arid the navigation of the Schelt to Saftingen. Till our treaty 
with England be fully executed, it is desirable to us, that all the 
world should be in peace. That done, their wars would do us 
little harm. 

I find myself under difficulties here, which I will take the lib- 
erty of explaining to you as a friend. Mr. Carmichael lately 
drew a bill on Mr. Grand for four thousand livres, I suppose, for 
his salary. Mr. Grand said, he was not used to accept drafts but 
by the desire of Dr. Franklin, and rested it on me to say, whether 
this bill should be paid or not. I thought it improper, that the 
credit of so confidential a person as Mr. Carmichael, should be 
affected by a refusal, and therefore advised payment. Mr. Dumas 
has drawn on me for twenty-seven hundred livres, his half year's 
salary, informing me he always drew on Dr. Franklin. I shall 
advise the payment. I have had loan office bills, drawn on the 
commissioners of the United States, presented to me. My an- 


swer has been, " These are very old bills. Had they been pre- 
sented while those gentlemen were in Europe, they would have 
been paid. You kept them up till Dr. Franklin, the last of them, 
has returned to America ; you must therefore send them there, 
and they will be paid. I am not the drawee described in the 
bill." It is impossible for me to meddle with these bills. The 
gentlemen who had been familiar with them, from the begin- 
ning, who kept books of them, and knew well the form of these 
books, often paid bills twice. But how can I interfere with 
them, who have not a scrip of a pen on their subject, who never 
saw a book relating to them, and who, if I had the books, should 
much oftener be bewildered in the labyrinth, than the gentlemen 
Avho have kept them ? I think it, therefore, most advisable, that 
what bills remain out, should be sent back to America for pay- 
ment, and therefore advise Mr. Barclay to return thither, all the 
books and papers relative to them. There is the proper and ulti- 
mate deposit of all records of this nature. All these articles are 
very foreign to my talents, and foreign also, as I conceive, to the 
nature of my duties. Dr. Franklin was obliged to meddle with 
them, from the circumstances which existed. But, these having 
ceased, I suppose it practicable for your board to direct the ad- 
ministration of your moneys here, in every circumstance. It is 
only necessary for me to draw my own allowances, and to order 
payment for services done by others, by my direction, and with- 
in the immediate line of my office ; such as paying couriers, 
postage, and other extraordinary services, which must rest on my 
discretion, and at my risk, if disapproved by Congress. I will 
thank you for your advice on this subject, and if you think a 
resolution of your board necessary, I will pray you to send me 
such a one, and that it may relieve me from all concerns with 
the money of the United States, other than those I have just 
spoken of. I do not mean by this, to testify a disposition to 
render no service but what is rigorously within my duty. I am 
the farthest in the world from this ; it is a question I shall never 
ask myself ; nothing making me more happy than to render any 
service in my power, of whatever description. But I wish only 


to be excused from intermeddling in business in which I have no 
skill, and should do more harm than good. 

Congress were pleased to order me an advance of two quarters' 
salary. At that time, I supposed that I might refund it, or spare 
so much from my expenses, by the time the third quarter became 
due. Probably, they might expect the same. But it has been 
impossible. The expense of my outfit, though I have taken it 
up, on a scale as small as could be admitted, has been very far 
beyond what I had conceived. I have, therefore, not only been 
unable to refund the advance ordered, but been obliged to go be- 
yond it. I wished to have avoided so much, as was occasioned 
by the purchase of furniture. But those who hire furniture, 
asked me forty per cent, a year, for the use of it. It was better 
to buy, therefore ; and this article, clothes, carriage, &c., have 
amounted to considerably more than the advance ordered. Per- 
haps, it may be thought reasonable to allow me an outfit. The 
usage of every other nation has established this, and reason really 
pleads for it. I do not wish to make a shilling ; but only my 
expenses to be defrayed, and in a moderate style. On the most 
moderate, which the reputation or interest of those I serve, would 
admit, it will take me several years to liquidate the advances for 
my outfit. I mention this, to enable you to understand the ne- 
cessities which have obliged me to call for more money than was 
probably expected, and, understanding them, to explain them to 
others. Being perfectly disposed to conform myself decisively, 
to what shall be thought proper, you cannot oblige me more, 
than by communicating to me your sentiments hereon, which I 
shall receive as those of a friend, and govern myself accordingly. 

I am, with the most perfect esteem, dear Sir, your friend and 


PARIS, October 6, 1785. 

SIR My letter of August the 30th, acknowledged the receipt 
of yours of July the 13th. Since that, I have received your 


letter of August the 13th, enclosing a correspondence between 
the Marquis de La Fayette and Monsieur de Calonnes, and another 
of the same date, enclosing the papers in Fortin's case. I imme- 
diately wrote to M. Limozin, at Havre, desiring he would send me 
a state of the case, and inform me what were the difficulties which 
suspended its decision. He has promised me, by letter, to do this 
as soon as possible, and I shall not fail in attention to it. 

The Emperor and Dutch have signed preliminaries, which are 
now made public. You will see them in the papers which ac- 
company this. They still leave a good deal to discussion. How- 
ever, it is probable they will end in peace. The party in Hol- 
land, possessed actually of the sovereignty, wish for peace, that 
they may push their designs on the Stadtholderate. This coun- 
try wishes for peace, because her financies need arrangement. 
The Bavarian exchange has produced to public view, that jeal- 
ousy and rancor between the courts of Vienna and Berlin, which 
existed before, though it was smothered. This will appear by 
the declarations of the two courts. The demarcation between 
the Emperor and Turk does not advance. Still, however, I sup- 
pose neither of those two germs of war likely to open soon. I 
consider the conduct of France as the best evidence of this. If 
she had apprehended a war from either of those quarters, she 
would not have been so anxious to leave the Emperor one enemy 
the less, by placing him at peace with the Dutch. While she is 
exerting all her powers to preserve peace by land, and making no 
preparation which indicates a fear of its being disturbed in that 
quarter, she is pushing her naval preparations, with a spirit unex- 
ampled in time of peace. By the opening of the next spring, 
she will have eighty ships, of seventy-four guns and upwards, 
ready for sea, at a moment's warning ; and the further construc- 
tions proposed, will probably, within two years, raise the number 
to an hundred. New regulations have been made, too, for per- 
fecting the classification of her seamen ; an institution, which, 
dividing all the seamen of the nation into classes, subjects them 
to tours of duty by rotation, and enables government, at all times, 
to man their ships. Their works for rendering Cherbourg a har- 


bor for their vessels of war, and Dunkirk, for frigates and priva- 
teers, leave now little doubt of success. It is impossible that 
these preparations can have in view, any other nation than the 
English. Of course, they show a greater diffidence of their peace 
with them, than with any other power. 

I mentioned to you, in my letter of August the 14th, that I had 
desired Captain John Paul Jones to inq